Colombo, Dec 5 (NIA) – Sri Lanka’s pricing policy is too exorbitant when compared to similar countries such as Thailand, which is the main reason why not too many Russian tourists are visiting the island nation, Russia’s Ambassador to Sri Lanka, Alexander Karchava said on Monday.
Speaking to journalists in Colombo, the Russian envoy said that Sri Lanka and Thailand shared similar features, but more Russians preferred to visit Thailand due to Sri Lanka’s high prices.
“Sri Lanka’s pricing policy is not correct. Prices are too exorbitant in comparison to Thailand. And the level of service is somewhat inadequate, again in comparison with Thailand. So value in money is not in favour of Sri Lanka. We could expect more Russian tourists here but you (Sri Lanka) have to do something,” Karchava said.
“If Sri Lanka adopts a Thai pricing policy, they will see the difference,” the envoy added.
Sri Lanka’s tourism industry which has seen an upward trend since the end of the country’s civil conflict against Tamil Tiger rebels in 2009, was able to attract only 70,000 Russian tourists last year.
However Karchava said the figure was better in comparison to 2012, when he arrived in Sri Lanka as the Ambassador, where only a little over 20,000 Russians visited here.
He said Sri Lanka’s tourism sector had the potential to do better.
“Sri Lanka is one of the quite popular tourist destinations in this part of the world. But this sector could do better. In numbers, the stream of tourists is growing. But not with the speed it could do,” the Ambassador said.
He added that popular destinations such as Turkey, which attracted 4.5 million Russian tourists per year and Egypt, which attracted atleast 2.5 million tourists a year, had now shrunk and practically become closed.
“So these two countries yearly were visited by 7 million tourists. So just imagine this is one third of Sri Lanka’s population. Now these two destinations have shrunk. Now 6 million people are seated in my country wondering where to go. Sri Lanka is an interesting and promising place. But we registered only 70,000 Russian tourists last year,” he said.
However he said, in comparison, Thailand in 2015, accommodated 2 million Russians.