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Sri Lanka to Reduce Airline Charges to Help Tourism Industry

The government currently predicts $3.7 billion in revenue from tourism this year, down from an initial forecast of $5 billion

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srilanka, tourism
Buddhist monks take part in a prayer ceremony at a buddhist temple for the victims, three days after a string of suicide bomb attacks on churches and luxury hotels across the island on Easter, in Colombo, Sri Lanka, April 24, 2019. VOA

Sri Lanka’s government announced Tuesday it will reduce ground handling charges for airlines and slash aviation fuel prices and embarkation fees to help the country’s vital tourism industry recover after Easter suicide bombings killed more than 250 people.

Tourism Minister John Amaratunga said the decision will lead to an increase in flights to Sri Lanka and a reduction in ticket prices, which will attract more tourists to the Indian Ocean island nation, famed for its pristine beaches.

Seven suicide bombers from a local Muslim group, National Thowheed Jammath, attacked three churches and three luxury hotels on April 21, killing 258 people, including 45 foreigners mainly from China, India, the U.S. and Britain. Tourist arrivals declined 57% in June from a year earlier, dealing a severe blow to the tourism industry, the country’s third-largest foreign currency earner after remittances from overseas workers and textile and garment exports.

sri lanka, tourism
Kandy Temple of the Tooth in Sri Lanka. Wikimedia Commons

The cuts in charges and fees will be in place for six months, said Johanne Jayaratne, head of the government’s tourism development agency. About 2.3 million tourists visited Sri Lanka in 2018, when 29 airlines offered 300 flights per week. After the April 21 attacks, 41 fights per week were canceled, amounting to a loss of 8,000 passenger seats. Several airlines have reinstated their normal schedules since then, but others have not.

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Dimuthu Tennakoon, chairman of the Board of Airline Representatives, said the government decision will encourage airlines to increase their capacity and offer attractive fares.
“That will definitely happen with this reduction because fuel and ground handling contribute a significant percentage of the total cost element of any airline,” he said.

Tourism accounts for 4.9% of Sri Lanka’s GDP. Around half a million Sri Lankans depend directly on tourism and 2 million indirectly. The government currently predicts $3.7 billion in revenue from tourism this year, down from an initial forecast of $5 billion. (VOA)

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Here are Some Tips For Solo Women Travellers

5 hacks for women solo traveller

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Women solo
Going solo is a way for many to unplug with more and more women taking solo trips. Pixabay

Going solo is a way for many to unplug with more and more women taking solo trips. If you, too, are planning your very first solo trip, here are a few useful tips to keep in mind shared by Rashmi Chadha, founder of Wovoyage, a women centric travel startup.

1. Destination matters: Prepare for the country you are travelling to

Read about the country or the city you are travelling to. Complete your research and prepare for your travel accordingly. This is the age of internet and you can read blogs or watch vlogs which can provide great knowledge about a particular place and help you plan a perfect trip. Download audio tour apps, Google translator and the country’s most useful travel applications.

2. Go Locale: Blend in, learn the local language, culture

It’s always better to gel with the locals as people become friendlier and you get a better experience. See if you can learn how to say some basic words like thank you, sorry, ask for water or directions, etc. in the local language which can help you connect with the locals and even find your way back to your hotel in some situations.

Learn how to blend in – it means dressing and speaking like a local whenever necessary, which can give you a chance to know the place more intimately and made the experience more wonderful.

Solo travel
If you’re a solo women traveller then you should complete your research and prepare for your travel accordingly. Pixabay

3. Be the early bird: Book in advance

Never land in a country without booking your stay. It gives you your first direction after stepping out of the airport. Even book your transfers from the airport to the hotel to avoid putting yourself in a stranded situation. Find the best solutions to get to your hotel from the airport online and book it.

Find and book your city tours online days before the date of travel. You might get better deals online than you will get on the spot.

4. Feel Empowered: Book local tours with female-run firms or women guides

Women are more comfortable with other women, it’s always safe, trustworthy and what will be better than women empowering each other. There are many women guides available in every city. Look for tours operated by female guides and book them beforehand. Look for homestays provided by women, sometimes you might get a chance to book tours provided by those homestays and get to experience the city in the best possible way like a local.

5. Prioritise safety: Women-only and women friendly accommodation

Besides travelling with precaution, where you stay during the vacation is pivotal to your safety. Women-only accommodations are an option and offer not only a safe ambience, but are also managed by an all-female workforce.

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There are women dorms in hostels that you can book or you can look for hotels that have a women-only floor. You can ask for special requirements while making a reservation and book the room according to your needs. Look for centrally located and accessible places that can solve your how to reach problems. (IANS)