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Facilitating Cruise Tourism in Sri Lanka

Globally the cruise industry is projected to continue to grow throughout 2019 with an estimated 30 million travellers expected to cruise, up 6% from 28.2 million in 2018. The interest in Sri Lanka as a cruise destination is growing with is scenic beauty, diversity of its product offering, access to sea ports located in Colombo, Galle, Hambantota and Trincomalee and the positive endorsement by Lonely Planet.

The Minister of Tourism Hon John Amarathunga along with the Chairman of the Tourism Advisory Committee is keen on developing this important tourism segment in order to entice and attract more cruise ships to Sri Lanka. Much work needs to be done and they wish to facilitate and encourage the government for a cruise terminal and find ways to ease cruise procedures, spruce up the passenger terminal facilities etc. Though Sri Lanka has four ports, it is important to find ways of developing these ports to be competing with other reputed cruise destinations in the region. In order to exchange ideas and find ways the Hon Minister of Tourism along with a high-ranking delegation met Mr. Norman Rasel Son, Cruise Director of the luxury Cruise Ship Silver Whisper.

The luxury cruise ship Silver Whisper, part of the Silver Sea Cruise liner company called over to the Colombo Port on Monday 25th March. Carrying 300 high end luxury passengers who are on an around the world voyage, the ship first called over at the Trincomalee harbour on Friday 22nd March prior to calling over at the Colombo port on Monday. The Silver Whisper boasts of amenities of a grand resort. The charms of a stylish boutique hotel with world-class accommodations, shipboard conviviality and warm, individualized service, paired with the enhanced spaces and amenities of a larger ship.

Majority of the cruise passengers indulge in shore excursions to take a break from the sea journey and explore the country. Shore excursions such as the Geofrey Bawa tour, the Vice Roy tour on the diesel engine locomotive, visiting the historical Kelaniya temple, spending the day with the Pinnawela elephants and Exploring the city of Colombo were undertaken by these clients before they departed.

In a background as this, Sri Lanka attracts around 60 cruise calls a year out of which majority of the shore excursions are handled by Aitken Spence Travels the leading DMC in Sri Lanka.

Those present & met with the Cruise Director Norman Rasel Sonof Silver Whisper;

  • Tourism Minister Hon. John Amaratunga
  • Head of the Tourism Committee Deshamanya DHS Jayawardena
  • Head of Leisure Sector at Aitken Spence Ms. Stasshani Jayawardena
  • Managing Director of Aitken Spence Travels Mr. Nalin Jayasundera
  • Senior Advisor to the Minister Mr. Felix Rodrigo
  • Managing Director of Micato India Mr. Micheal Haidar Ali,
  • The Controller General of Immigration and Emigration & Commissioner for Registration of Persons of Indian Origin Mr. Nihal Ranasinghe