Sports boost tourist arrivals to Sri Lanka in the month of July.
Sri Lanka’s tourism industry recorded a 44% increase in tourist arrivals to the country between the months of June this year and July. Tourist arrivals in July were recorded at 47,293, which is an increase from 32,856 recorded in June despite the ongoing economic crisis. Sri Lanka’s overall tourist arrivals in the first seven months this year has surpassed 450,000 arrivals.
According to reports, the increase in tourist arrivals was largely influenced by sports tourism where Sri Lanka hosted the Australian and Pakistani cricket teams for a series of matches in the country. Arrivals in the first seven months reportedly amounted to 458,670 (as against 2,429 in COVID-hit July of 2021), which is a welcome development for the triple-hit tourism industry.
The latest data released by the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) has shown that the daily average arrivals have slightly picked up to 1,526 in July, compared to 1,095 in June. The highest daily average arrivals were in March this year with over 3,600. However, it dropped to 2,099 by the end of April following the economic crisis and political turmoil and in May it further dropped to 974.
The largest source markets for arrivals in July were the UK with 9,257 tourists or 20% of the total arrivals, followed by India with 6,031 tourists (13%) and Germany with 3,666 (8%).
India remains strong as the top tourist source market for Sri Lanka with the cumulative number of arrivals at 74,792 followed by UK 58,879, Russia with 48,321, Germany 37,108, France 25,451, Australia 16,514, Canada 16,475, Ukraine 13,840, US 13,154 and Poland 13,073.
The latest data released by the Central Bank of Sri Lanka on external sector data has shown that tourism earnings in the first half were $ 740 million, as against $ 44 million in the same period a year earlier. Earnings from tourism in July 2022 are estimated at $ 59 million, compared to $ 4 million compared to the same period a year earlier.
Sri Lanka’s tourism industry is one that is continuously evolving with members of the tourism industry exploring new tourism concepts to promote the country’s tourism industry. Sports tourism as well as adventure tourism are two such new concepts that seem to gather momentum with a segment of tourists arriving in the country to enjoy Sri Lanka’s offerings in these segments. Sri Lanka’s tourism industry has received much exposure in the international media as a must visit tourist destination as well as being listed among the top 10 island destinations by several leading travel publications. The country’s tourism industry has also been boosted through campaigns being carried out in key tourist source markets as well as in potential new markets. All these have resulted in a steady growth in tourist arrivals to the country despite facing many challenges including a global pandemic. Sri Lanka’s tourism industry is also in need of constant upgrades, especially in the leisure and hospitality sectors. Given the growth momentum in Sri Lanka’s tourism industry and the growing business potential, foreign businesses/investors could explore the growing opportunities in the industry, especially in the leisure and hospitality sectors.
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