East Coast Calls for Connectivity

The pristine Kalkudah beach on Sri Lanka’s east coast

Hotels in the east coast reported that occupancy dropped to 40 per cent during the month of July.

April to October is generally the best season for the east coast, however, similar to the rest of the country, it has been severely impacted by the events of Easter Sunday. This has led to several small properties closing for the season in order to minimise their losses.

The president of the East Coast Hotel Association and general manager of Amethyst Resort, Roshanth Selvaraj said that in the previous year the average occupancy rate was at 90 per cent.

SLTDA reported that arrival numbers had increased to 115,701 in July, an increase of 83 per cent from the previous month.

Selvaraj said that the hotel association is working closely with the Eastern Province Tourism Bureau to market Trincomalee, Ampara and Passikudah directly to overseas travel agents.

“When a traveller asks about the east coast from a local travel agent before checking with the area, they immediately respond saying it is the offseason. We need to break that myth because it’s affecting the tourism industry in these locations.”

He added that they are also looking into solving the connectivity issue to Passikudah. At the moment, there are only intercity trains and buses at night to the location, with the exception of seaplanes operated by Cinnamon during the daytime.

“Passikudah is not a rich destination. We have a lot of backpackers who visit the area and they are not in a position to spend money on seaplanes. The lack of connectivity during the daytime is a huge drawback for tourism in the area,” says Selvaraj.