According to recent data released by the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority, the island nation has witnessed a significant influx of Indian tourists, signaling a positive upturn in Sri Lanka’s tourism industry. In the month of June alone, over 26,000 Indian tourists visited Sri Lanka, contributing to a total of 116,000 Indian arrivals by the end of June. With a total of 624,000 tourist arrivals, India remains the leading source market for Sri Lanka’s tourism, as reported by DD.
Following setbacks such as the 2019 Easter Sunday attacks, the COVID-19 pandemic, and subsequent lockdowns, Sri Lanka has been diligently working to revive and promote its tourism sector. To attract Indian visitors, Sri Lanka has identified 50 sites associated with the Ramayana, aiming to enhance tourism ties between the two countries.
In parallel, India and Sri Lanka have been actively exploring initiatives to promote the use of local currencies for trade settlements, fostering economic cooperation. Earlier this year, Indian High Commissioner Gopal Baglay highlighted the importance of creating mechanisms for Indian tourists to transact in Indian rupees, which would further elevate Sri Lanka’s appeal as a preferred tourist destination.
In May 2023, Sri Lanka’s tourism industry showcased promising growth, earning a total of $131 million. According to the Central Bank of Sri Lanka, this represents a significant increase compared to May 2022, with tourism income experiencing a remarkable growth of 202 percent. The number of foreign tourists visiting Sri Lanka also witnessed a substantial rise, with 83,309 tourists arriving in May 2023, marking a 175.8 percent growth compared to the same period in the previous year.