A Purposeful Vision for Tourism in Sri Lanka

Founded in 2019, the Sri Lanka Tourism Alliance continues to be an example of the immensity of things that can be achieved when like-minded people come together with a purposeful vision and commitment to do what is best for the country.

“My inspiration behind co-founding the Sri Lanka Tourism Alliance and the Love Sri Lanka campaign, stemmed from frustration and disappointment at the lack of tourism communication and promotion to minimize the collateral damage caused by challenges the island has faced.

In 2019, the Easter Attacks terrorized and shocked our country, and Sri Lanka was painted as an unsafe travel destination globally, which had a detrimental impact on tourism, an industry that the nation is heavily dependent on. Since the tourism authorities failed to communicate globally to help bounce back from this major setback, I and a few others from the industry formed the Sri Lanka Tourism Alliance with hopes of giving back within our means. We brought together an amazing advisory board, and were joined by many others who stepped up and offered pro bono services.

This resulted in the launch of the Love Sri Lanka tourism campaign in 2019, which included a series of programs that helped convey the message that Sri Lanka was safe and open to travellers to visit. The Love Sri Lanka campaign went viral, with many in the industry rallying round, allowing us to take a positive message about Sri Lanka out to the world.

Over the last four years, both the Alliance and the Love Sri Lanka campaign have grown beyond measure, and today, we have over three thousand members in the Alliance. Even through all the hardships, including the current economic recession and the pandemic, we have managed to persevere and grow, launching websites, a jobs’ portal, social media campaigns, newsletters and webinars. Our goal is to establish clear communication, making Sri Lanka an aspirational destination, promoting sustainability amongst tourism providers in the country, and encouraging female participation in tourism. We are also data driven in what we do – we look at search data, and we look at the impact of that on future travel plans rather than looking at historical arrival data, which is largely flawed.

Throughout this entire process, Antyra’s involvement has been critical. I view Antyra as an integral partner of the Alliance, not just a service provider. A lot of the ideas that we embrace and execute are from Antyra, and they have really been a partner in supporting the tourism industry get back on its feet through this entirely private initiative.

We are grateful to everyone who has welcomed this initiative with open arms, and our vision is to continue down this road doing the best we can with our many supporters, and the donors who have been critical to us. When you join the Alliance, it is not about what we can do for you, but it’s about what we can do together for the country.”

Malik Fernando – Co-Chair, Sri Lanka Tourism Alliance