Significant achievement says Tourism Minister Harin Fernando
- Commends tourism industry for commitment, resilience
- Expresses confidence in achieving set targets of 800K arrivals, if daily footfall exceeds 2,500
- SL welcomes 31,302 tourists in the first 17 days of Nov.
COLOMBO : Tourist arrivals to Sri Lanka have exceeded 600,000 year-to-date despite the multiple challenges, both nationally and internationally.
“We have welcomed over 606,000 tourists so far this year, which is a significant achievement,” Tourism Minister Harin Fernando told the Daily FT.
He acknowledged the commitment and resilience of the tourism industry stakeholders to reach this milestone.
“This reflects the unwavering strength of the tourism industry of Sri Lanka,” he added.
Minister Fernando also commended the efforts taken by the foreign missions to overcome the negative publicity the country gained due to political and economic unrest and extended appreciation to airlines for resuming operations to Sri Lanka.
As per provisional data released by the Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA), the country has welcomed 31,302 tourists during the first 17 days of the month.
It also showed that the arrivals are averaging an improved 1,800 per day this month as against 1,355 in October, mainly boosted by Russian travellers.
Russia emerged as the top source market, reflecting 24% or 7,684 of total arrivals during the first 17 days followed by India with 17% or 5,279, the United Kingdom with 8% or 2,538, Germany with 7% or 2,115, and Australia with 5% or 1,527.
Minister Fernando also expressed confidence of achieving the set arrivals target of 800,000 by end of December, if the daily average arrivals pick up to over 2,500.
It is noteworthy that India also crossed 100,000 cumulative number of arrivals, to 100,766 securing the top tourist source market for Sri Lanka YTD, followed by the UK with 75,340, Russia with 65,173, Germany with 47,504, France with 31,826, Australia with 24,354, Canada with 23,348, US 17,371, Maldives 14,845 and Ukraine 14,376.
Tourism industry experts said the resumption of many new international airlines and charter flights in the first two weeks of the month as well as the global promotions at the ITM Paris, Indian and WTM were the key reasons for the favourable pick-up arrival figures.
As per data released by the Central Bank, earnings from the tourism sector crossed the $ 1 billion mark in October. From January to October, earnings from tourism amounted to a total of $ 1.02 billion reflecting a 546% increase from the corresponding period of last year impacted by COVID-19.
The crossing of the $ 1 billion mark follows October earnings amounting to $ 75.6 million up from $ 53.6 million in September this year. In October last year earnings amounted to $ 59.3 million.