COLOMBO : Sri Lanka Tourism, the third highest Foreign exchange earner in the country is seeing success in Tourism arrivals as never before even compared with Pre Pandemic levels. 2018 was considered to be one of the best years for Sri Lanka Tourism in achieving Tourist arrivals but the current year with upwelling Tourist arrivals have made the Tourism Industry experiencing increase in revenue and also creating more employment opportunities. Increasing tourism attractions and initiatives implemented to encourage more tourists to Sri Lanka as one of the most renowned travel destinations in the world have resulted these accomplishments.
This can be taken as an excellent outcome after Sri Lanka Tourism went through despite all the challenges and obstacles during the past few years such as the COVID 19 pandemic, 2019 Easter attacks and the 2022 Economic Crisis. Despite these challenges Sri Lanka Tourism was determined to steer ahead by spreading the positive message all across the world that ‘’Sri Lanka is ready and safe’’ It was indeed a strenuous task to cast off all the negative impressions circulated among media about the destination. But with the promotional efforts done by Sri Lanka Tourism, it has reached a stage where tourists would now grab every opportunity to visit Sri Lanka to experience it’s amazing travel and holiday opportunities and exquisite attractions. Sri Lanka ‘s Pekoe Trail was listed as the National Geographic’s best coveted ‘’Best of the World for 2024’’ . The Pekoe Trail, which starts from Kandy and ends up from Nuwaraeliya is an exclusive opportunity to witness Sri Lanka’s beautiful Central highlands by passing remote villages and lush tea estates spawning over an area of approximately 200 miles. It was also recognized by the British Guild of Travel Writers at the International Awards UK where Sri Lanka was presented with the Pekoe Trail Award which was another achievement for Sri Lanka Tourism. A replica of the award was presented by the Hon. Minister of Tourism, Lands, Sports and Youth Affairs, Harin Fernando at the Brand Launch held last year to the team which contributed a great deal to receive this accolade.
Further adding a few more feathers in Sri Lanka’s cap the destination was also named as one of the best destinations to travel to in 2023 and as one of the best tourist hotspots by The Independent’s list of best destinations to travel. The Forbes listed Sri Lanka as one of the 23 best places to visit in 2023. In February 2023 The Forbes magazine recognized Sri Lanka as a ‘Top Wildlife Safaris Outside of Africa’. In addition, the country was ranked ninth in a list of the 50 most Instagrammable places in the world in 2023 based on Big 7 Travel social media data, whilst the destination was also ranked among the top 24 countries to travel in 2023 by Travel Triangle, a leading online holiday marketplace.
In order to rejuvenate the Tourism sector and encourage tourists to visit Sri Lanka without any hassle, Sri Lanka also introduced Visa free entry for tourists coming from India, China, Russia, Malaysia, Japan, Indonesia, and Thailand. This opportunity will continue till Mach 31st 2024, as
a part of an initiative to boost the tourism Industry. In this way, Sri Lanka Tourism was able to give a positive answer to all speculations made regarding the Tourism Industry by doubling the number s of tourist arrivals than expected in 2023 and showing the whole world that Sri Lanka is indeed a strong nation which has bounced back strongly.
The top ten source markets which played a pivotal role in
sourcing tourist arrivals to Sri Lanka from January 2023 to December 2023 were, India, Russia, UK, Germany, China, Australia, France, US, Canada, Maldives and others. Out of these countries India as our neighbor has been the number one destination with the highest number of tourist arrivals.
Sri Lanka Tourism started the New Year 2024 with a positive note creating a remarkable number of 208,253 tourist arrivals for the Month of January, 2024. India continues to be number one, with Russia and UK claiming the 2nd and 3rd places respectively. Sri Lanka Tourism is very confident that the set target of 2.3 million tourists in 2024 or even more can be achieved with all stakeholders working towards this objective.