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Impact of Covid 19 in tourism industry in Sri Lanka and way forward with Virtual tourism

The tourism industry plays an important role in Sri Lanka. It is a  key contributor to the  Sri Lankan economy and one of the most important industries that generate much-needed foreign currency in the Sri  Lankan economy. However, the COVID-19 health crisis has changed this, because the novel Corona infection first attacked international travelers, and the pandemic was caused by travel. Therefore, the global outbreak of the COVID-19 virus has a major impact on the tourism industry in Sri Lanka.

In response to the virus outbreak and the social distancing, many World Heritage properties are currently closed, which leads to social and economic consequences on the communities that live in and around these sites. Although this situation makes tourism highly vulnerable, it is in a unique position to contribute to broader and recovery plans and actions.

Though there are no standardized solutions, some people in the tourism industry including hotel owners are using their food and beverage and housekeeping staff to provide food and cleaning supplies to area hospitals and medical facilities. Others are utilizing their workers to perform minor repair jobs, while some are supplying personal protective types of equipment such as masks and gloves to police and medical personnel and other responders. Some people are taking this opportunity to adapt their online marketing strategies to adjust their message to a new reality.

To overcome this situation another solution is using tourism resources like hotels as quarantine centers with a monthly rental to the organizations. Further, hotel managers must take steps to institute crisis management plans which include survival strategies such as Cost-cutting and Virtualization.

While the face-to-face visitor centers are not available, you can still get the necessary face time by going virtual. Video conferencing and webinars increased after the lockdown. People used these methods to stay in contact with themselves and when working from home.

Virtual tourism

Virtual tourism is also known as virtual reality tourism. Now it has become increasingly popular amongst tourism industry stakeholders. Some people developed successful virtual tours, including “virtual safaris” or city tours. Virtual tourism facilitates a tourism experience, without actually having to travel anywhere. These allow to take an online walkthrough, check out places with a few clicks of the mouse. The experience is so much better than looking at photos and watching videos because it is more accurate and realistic.

Virtual tourism takes many different forms and comes in various degrees of technological capability and it covers a broad spectrum of digitally mediated reality, which includes virtual reality, as well as mixed reality and augmented reality. The future of the virtual tourism industry will see people seeking impossible adventures through virtual means such as a person who cannot swim undertaking deep-sea diving and flying above your favorite city or walking on the moon.

Throughout all of these, there is a direct correlation between the growth of the virtual tourism industry and global technological capabilities.


Virtual tourism has its advantages both for the tourism industry and for the tourist.

  1. Virtual tourism is good for the environment

Virtual tourism means less CO2 emissions from transport, less litter, less damage to flora and fauna and less disruption to natural ecology and wildlife.

  1. Virtual tourism provides freedom and flexibility
  2. It can stimulate physical tourism
  3. It saves time
  4. It cuts costs
  5. Can generate more website traffic
  6. Can decrease your website’s bounce rates
  7. Tourism-related social media accounts get more love and followers
  8. A safe alternative to an actual trip


Virtual tourism is becoming quite a trend, but it is not perfect. Here are some of the main disadvantages of virtual tourism

  1. Virtual tourism is not accessible to all
  2. It does not provide the economic advantages that traditional tourism does
  3. Virtual tourism has limited social interaction

Safeguarding the tourism industry will be a good investment in the future development of the country. The travel industry will rebound, but nobody really knows when. It may be hit pretty hard due to the coronavirus. While virtual tourism is one of the latest travel trend, it may not be just a temporary trend.

Owners, operators, governments, lenders and the community are all genuinely working together to find solutions to the crisis. Therefore, we hope for a quick ending to this situation, and that tourism will once again commence.

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