Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority

Promoting Domestic Tourism

The Definition of the Domestic Traveller

As per the definition formulated by the World Tourism Organization (WTO) “A Domestic Traveller is any person residing in a country who travels to a place within the country, outside his or her usual environment for a period not exceeding 12 months and whose main purpose of visit is other than the exercise of an activity remunerated from within the place visited”.

Reasons for Promoting and Encouraging Domestic Tourism

An argument could be submitted as to why, the authorities are trying to encourage and promote domestic tourism despite the fact that it will not generate among other things foreign exchange earnings as in the case of international tourism.

Reasons for encouraging and promoting domestic tourism

  • Producing social and cultural benefits for the domestic population who might not otherwise be able to experience the cultural and natural richness of their own countries. Through the opportunities for the exchange of ideas and practices that domestic travellers can bring, residents will also potentially develop stronger interest in promoting ethnic, racial and religious tolerance; deeper appreciation of the country's natural and cultural diversity; and greater awareness of the achievements of national institutions. Note: This is particularly relevant and important in the present context of the prevailing situation in Sri Lanka .
  • Enabling residents who have growing disposable incomes and their leisure time to participate in productive and satisfying experiences. As leisure time, disposable incomes and higher levels of education increase, so does the need for a broader array of leisure experiences. Domestic tourism is a potential contributor to the quality of life of resident populations, if it is carefully planned and properly delivered.
  • Gradually introducing the domestic travel sector organizations to the critical management requirements needed to compete effectively in the international market place. Domestic tourism can also encourage public and private travel organizations to create the receptive, accommodation, attraction and entertainment facilitates needed to compete in key travel markets at home and abroad.
  • Retaining the hard currency that might otherwise leave the country in the form of outbound travel expenditure in travel to foreign destinations. Without implementing potentially regressive deterrents to the outbound travel sector, foreign exchange is thus saved by encouraging the spending by the affluent local population in travel to the domestic locations.
  • Re-distributing wealth within the nation's boundaries. This re-distribution can be targeted to encourage the transfer of currency and other physical and human resources from relatively affluent portions of the country to economically less prosperous regions, through the strategically focused domestic tourism programme.
  • Spreading development opportunities into the developing regions through the use of local resources that are natural and human suited to the domestic market as opposed to the international markets. By encouraging the regions to develop events, attractions and services that is suited to the domestic travellers and local, political, social and business institutions to gain an opportunity to hone their organisational and programme delivery skills - many of which are suited to application in a wide variety of development settings.
  • Stabilizing the frequently cyclical and seasonal flows of inbound tourism. By encouraging domestic tourism to occur during the traditionally slow “off peak” demand periods that is normally associated with international tourism, opportunities exist to fortify the tourism facility and programme utilization levels. This strategy can potentially lead to a more stable and also sustain a level of employment and revenue generation in the domestic destination regions.

Please note: Sri Lanka has experienced this on several occasions in the past.

Major Areas That Concern Domestic Tourism

  • Promote the lesser known attractions in Sri Lanka by using the print and electronic media
  • To establish a good travel culture among the Sri Lankan travellers.
  • To make the domestic tourist aware on the facilities that are available at Tourist Resorts and improve the standards of facilities at tourist attractions. Eg -. Accommodation & comfort facilitates, water & sanitation, emergency medical services, transport, guiding services.
  • To identity the new trends that are taking place in domestic tourism and cater to their needs.
  • To introduce a code of ethics for the domestic traveller.

Domestic Tourism Programme

The tasks and guidelines involved and suggested,

  • Setting up of school travel clubs islandwide.
  • Develop staging facilities (comfort centres) after identifying the staging places on the main roads leading to major cities. Eg -. Kandy, Nuwara Eliya, Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa, Ratnapura, Katharagama in association with Provincial Councils, Local Authorities, Co-ops, SANASA, leading business communities in the area etc.
  • Preparation of an inventory on lesser known attractions in all the Provinces.
  • Compilation of information on religious and cultural events happening in the island.
  • Publication of an accommodation guide (including pilgrims rests, circuit / estate bungalows, youth hostels, Rest Houses, guest houses etc.) for the benefit of domestic tourists. (Budget travellers).
  • Preparation of a tourist guide map for domestic tourists.
  • Training of youth as site guides at major tourist sites to assist the domestic tourists.
  • Publication of tourist handbooks for the benefit of domestic tourists. (by sponsorship)
  • Launch of a tourist friendly cities programme, in major tourist areas.
  • Placing of tourist signages and direction boards that lead to tourist attractions with the assistance of sponsors.
  • Launch of the clean & green campaign at major tourist sites & cities.
  • Conducting of surveys on the impact of domestic tourism through the school travel clubs and undergraduates who are studying tourism.
  • Conducting of awareness raising programmes on the code of ethics for domestic travellers.
  • Encourage the travel agents to introduce low budget tour packages for the domestic tourists.
  • Media promotional campaign
  • Advisory committee on domestic tourism.
  • Code of ethics for the domestic tourists.