SL records robust tourism growth attracting over 950,000 tourists up to now
By: Staff Writer
Colombo (LNW): Despite challenges posed by the economic crisis, Sri Lanka continues to draw tourists in considerable numbers.
Priyantha Fernando, the Chairman of the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority SLTDA, released these figures, noting a marked increase in the overall number of visitors this year.
He stressed the need of introducing an aviation policy for the robust tourism development policy to attract 5 million tourists by 2029
Fernando noted a historic lack of synergy between tourism and aviation policies, highlighting the urgent need for a marketing-oriented approach to entice airlines and bolster inbound tourist traffic. “
He claimed that the decades-old aviation policy has shielded the national carrier, restricting Sri Lanka from fully capitalizing on potential tourist markets.
The cumulative count of foreign tourists stands at an impressive46, 308 up to September 12 this year 2023.
This substantial number of arrivals signifies a steady recovery and growth in the tourism sector of the nation, showing the resilience and attractiveness of Sri Lanka as a top travel destination
Tourism industry’s resurgence continues with the country welcoming over 950,000 visitors’ year-to-date (YTD), marking a significant milestone after a three-year hiatus.
During the first 12 days of September, Sri Lanka received 46,308 tourists, propelling the cumulative figure to an impressive 950,626.
For 2023, Sri Lanka Tourism has set an ambitious goal of over 1.55 million visitors. The authorities anticipate 73,893 more arrivals during the following two weeks to meet the monthly target of 120,201 tourists.
India continues to be the strongest source market for Sri Lanka, both for the YTD figures and September arrivals. In the first 12 days of September, a total of 12,252 tourists arrived from India, while visitors were also recorded from the UK, Germany, Russia, and Australia.
This resurgence is a testament to Sri Lanka’s enduring appeal as a tourist destination and its successful efforts in revitalizing the tourism sector after multiple setbacks experienced since 2019 for three consecutive years.
Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority Chairman, Priyantha Fernando, said that a well-crafted aviation policy has to be formulated to archive the country’s ambitious target of attracting 5 million tourists by 2029.
In June, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) has called on Sri Lanka to take steps towards creating an aviation blueprint for greater economic growth and prosperity through the development of a robust aviation industry.
Over the past 15 months, eight airlines have recommenced their operations in Colombo, driven solely by commercial considerations due to high demand.
However, Fernando stressed that this alone is insufficient, emphasizing the pressing need for enhanced synergy and a comprehensive policy framework to revolutionize and sustain both industries.