Sri Lanka’s tourist arrivals rebound in June and sees an increase over May
Daily FT: Tourist arrivals in June increased by 8.8% to 32,865 from the lowest 30,207 in May despite the ongoing economic crisis, whilst surpassing the 400,000 mark in the first half.
The slight uptick in arrivals was largely influenced by the Australia tour of Sri Lanka which commenced in early June.
Arrivals in the first six months amounted to 411,377 (as against 17,000 in COVID-hit 1H of 2021), a welcome development for the triple-hit tourism industry but performance is still down by 50% compared to the same period in pre-COVID.
In June, the largest source markets were India with 6,650 tourists or 21% of the total arrivals, followed by the UK with 3,199 tourists (10%), and Australia with 2,448 (8%), the data released by the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) showed.
It also showed that the daily average arrivals have slightly picked up to 1,095 in June, compared to 974 recorded in May. The highest daily average arrivals in March was over 3,600 and it dropped to 2,099 by the end of April following the economic crisis and political turmoil.
India also stood strong as the top tourist source market for Sri Lanka YTD with cumulative number of arrivals at 68,601, followed by UK 49,453, Russia with 46,337, Germany 33,373, France 21,683, Australia 14,476, Ukraine 13,781, Canada 12,968, Poland 12,709, and US 11,626.
The industry feared that the numbers would further be reduced given the severe fuel crisis and worsening economic crisis.
In May, the industry revised its earlier targets to a more practical expectation of around 800,000 travellers with an income of $ 800 million by the year-end.
This was the third downward revision from the original target announced at the beginning of the year on 2.3 million tourist arrivals and $ 4.5 billion income, which was again sized down following the spread of COVID Omicron variant by February to 1.3 million travellers with earnings of $ 2.4 billion.
Earnings from tourism in the first five months were $ 681 million as against $ 40 million a year ago.
Tourist arrivals to Sri Lanka is showing a steady growth indicating that the country’s tourism industry is on a revival path after facing the pandemic challenges and the impact of the ensuing economic crisis. Local tourism authorities are engaged in promoting the country’s tourism industry in key foreign source markets while also exploring new tourism concepts. The international media has also given much exposure to Sri Lanka as a must visit tourist destination as well as one of the top 10 island destinations. The increasing business potential in Sri Lanka’s tourism industry has attracted many international leisure brands to the country while local businesses in the leisure and hospitality sectors also focusing on expansion programmes. With the growth potential in Sri Lanka’s tourism industry, foreign businesses/investors could explore the expanding opportunities in the industry, especially in the leisure and hospitality sectors.
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