Sri Lanka tourism to reach pre-pandemic levels in 2024 with recovery rate of over 80% in 2023
The Morning: Sri Lanka is expected to witness pre-Covid levels or exceed in tourism this year along with the recovery rate of over 80% recorded at the end of 2023, as the natural trend for travel is on the surface, The Daily Morning Business learnt.
Speaking to The Daily Morning Business, Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) Chairman Priantha Fernando said: “Currently, we have also launched a global marketing campaign in which the country can expect a speedy return from it as proper destination marketing campaigns have not been carried out for 15 years.”
He added that global tourism is returning back to normal along with China opening up in a bigger way, Sri Lanka will be strengthening their promotional activities in the Chinese market as well.
Moreover, China might generate 1 million tourist arrivals in 2025, in which Sri Lanka is to focus on at least 250,000 arrivals, he stated.
The SLTDA expects tourist arrivals to exceed 2.3 million in 2024, generating a minimum revenue of $ 4.6 billion.
According to SLTDA, Sri Lanka is prepared for the expected surge in tourist arrivals since in the formal sector alone, the country has over 53,000 rooms. Therefore, 2.3 million tourists can be accommodated with the available room capacity while the SLTDA expects to approve tourism related infrastructure projects based on the demand creating opportunities for the local investors.
In 2024, Sri Lanka anticipates tourists primarily from Russia, India, China, Germany and Australia. SLTDA expects more numbers from Europe compared to 2023 which is 757,327.
Moreover, the recreational sector has turned out to be an area where Sri Lanka lacks as Sri Lanka did not have an environment for people to experiment and come up with investments with travel restrictions globally. Therefore, SLTDA anticipates that with the demand would build up creating the environment for entertainment.
Per the SLTDA Monthly Tourist Arrivals Report (2023), the main purpose of visits as follows: pleasure / vacation – 65%, visiting friends and relatives – 10%, MICE – 6%, business – 2%, health /ayurvedic – 0.66%, sports – 0.37%, religious – 0.36%, education – 0.036%.
Accordingly, pleasure / vacation (65%) ranks in the top. Sri Lanka is in need of improving the recreational sector for the tourists to enjoy the stay and spend money in the country.
Moreover, Sri Lanka anticipates getting more charter flights and cruise ships in the year 2024 while Polish charter flights commenced operations a few days before.
Additionally, Sri Lanka is looking at about two or three charter flights from China.
Sri Lanka’s tourism industry is fast becoming a key revenue generator for the country given the steady growth being recorded. The growth in tourist arrivals to the country last year is expected to see a further growth with Sri Lanka continuing to make it to global travel listings that have identified the island as a must visit tourist destination. Also, the many promotional campaigns carried out by the local tourism authorities in key tourist source markets while exploring new tourism concepts will add to the reasons that would boost Sri Lanka’s tourism industry. All these are indicative of the overall expansion in Sri Lanka’s tourism industry and the increase in business/investment opportunities in the leisure and hospitality sectors as well as in the development of infrastructure and supplementary infrastructure facilities required to meet the growing demand. The growth potential in Sri Lanka’s tourism industry has already attracted many international leisure and hospitality brands to enter Sri Lanka while other businesses already engaged in the industry are carrying out refurbishment and renovation programmers in their properties. Given the growth and business potential in Sri Lanka’s tourism industry, foreign businesses/investors could confidently explore the expanding opportunities in the country.
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