Sri Lanka’s Tourism per-head earnings nearing 2018 levels.
The Morning: The foreign exchange earnings per tourist recorded by Sri Lanka last year had reached levels closer to that of 2018, which was the last year in which the country witnessed a significant influx of tourists, calculations by The Morning reveal.
Accordingly, the tourism earnings per head for 2022 were $ 1,798.35, while 2018 saw a corresponding value of $1,877. The numbers indicate a recovery to the pre-economic crisis, pre-pandemic, and pre-Easter-attacks levels.
In 2022, the total earnings earned from tourism receipts, as per the statistics provided by Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) Chairperson Priantha Fernando, were approximately $ 1.2 billion.
However, Fernando noted: “The earnings could be slightly higher, somewhere around $1.4 billion,” adding however, that the final figures can only be disclosed following the Central Bank of Sri Lanka’s (CBSL’s) final clearance.
Hence, due to the unavailability of figures for tourism earnings over the entire year, the above calculations for 2022 only include the figures recorded during the period from January to November 2022.
Meanwhile, the total number of tourist arrivals to Sri Lanka was recorded at 719,978 up to 31 December 2022, with 91,961 arrivals during the month of December, as per the SLTDA.
In 2018, total tourism earnings were recorded at $ 4.38 billion, and the number of arrivals was 2,333,796. Moreover, in 2019, tourism earnings per head were $ 1,884.7. The total earnings and number of arrivals stood at $ 3.60 billion and 1,913,702, respectively.
In 2020, amidst the pandemic, earnings per head were $ 1,334.2, while total earnings and arrivals fell to $682.5 million and 507,704, respectively. In 2021, earnings per head were a mere $ 1,341.9, while total earnings was $ 261 million and arrivals were at 194,495.
Tourism Minister Harin Fernando stated recently that Sri Lanka looks forward to attracting nearly 1.5 million tourists in 2023.
Tourism is one of the top three foreign exchange-earning sources of Sri Lanka. However, since 2019, the sector has been taking successive hits, including the 2019 Easter attacks, the Covid-19 pandemic, and the unprecedented economic crisis last year.
Sri Lanka’s tourism industry was one of the fastest growing economic sectors in the country when it was dealt a severe blow by the global pandemic and the economic crisis that followed it. However, the country’s tourism industry is now showing a steady growth with an increase in tourist arrivals to the country. Sri Lanka’s tourism authorities have been engaged in an aggressive promotional campaign in key tourist source markets while also exploring new tourism concepts to be promoted. The country has also received much exposure in the international media as a must visit tourist destination. All this has resulted in the expansion of business/investment opportunities in the tourism industry, especially in the leisure and hospitality sectors. Many international leisure and hospitality brands have expressed interest in entering the country. Given the expanding business potential in the sector, foreign businesses/investors could explore the growing opportunities in Sri Lanka’s tourism industry.
|Article Code :||VBS/AT/24012023/X_5|