Airport or World Market

Jun 27 2016. views 275


They say first impressions count. This is true for tourists especially who set foot in Sri Lanka for the first time. Sadly for many of these tourists while standing in the queues to be given the once over by stern looking immigration officers they are greeted by a cacophony of sounds by various sari-clad girls working at the Duty Free shops just beyond the immigration counters. 

Their shrill cries of “Sir, Madam, come to visit out store” pierce the relative quiet of the airport and cause the tourists to wonder if they have come to an airport or a Bangkok wholesale market. Not to be outdone by the competitors these sales personnel keep raising their voices an octave at a time to be heard. Once you pass through immigration they cry louder “Come Madam, come Sir, special offer on chocolates, special offer on perfume etc” in their attempts to entice prospective customers. 

Like town criers of yore they battle with each other to make themselves heard attract customers who wonder where to go and what to do. Many a tourist just shake their heads and avoid the stores making a dash to collect their baggage and leave the airport. However it is Middle East returnees that are prey to these salesmen and women. Sussing them out a mile away they home in on them and steer them towards their stores with promises of washing machines, ovens and various other electrical items. 

I would be the first to agree that competition is healthy but must they do it shouting and shrieking like banshees? This after all is an airport and not a World Market. 

It is ugly, unprofessional and above all off putting to see men and women especially shouting like market hawkers. It is high time the airport authorities put a stop to this type of behaviour. The last thing travellers need is to be shouted at and corralled into shopping in one particular store. It is after all the primary purpose of the airport is to facilitate travel not a free for all shopping extravaganza. 

"As a traveller I think it is ugly to see these men and women shouting like pavement hawkers. It does not look nice and I fear what tourists think when they see the sales staff literally begging  people to come to their stores" - Iyne 

"It is ridiculous that there are two identical stalls back to back trying to compete with each other as this forces the ladies to be aggressive towards the travellers jumping at them forcing them to come to their store" - Charlene 

"Most annoying and ever overbearing especially if you are after a long flight or a first time traveller to Sri Lanka" - Mihiri 

By Tina Edward Gunawardhana



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