Home » SL tourism industry begins recovery despite public protests against the Govt

SL tourism industry begins recovery despite public protests against the Govt

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Sri Lanka tourism industry has begun its recovery from the setback suffered due to economic crisis and youth up rising along with protest campaigns against the ousted President Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

The current regime has already earned revenue in the excess of US$ 1 billion from tourism receipts so far and will end the year 2022 with $1.7 billion Minister of Tourism and lands Harin Fernando said.

He said that Sri Lanka is fielding the largest team of nearly 90 local travel sector stakeholders for the World Tourism market (WTM) in London starting next week after a lapse of three years and these protests will have negative sentiments on Sri Lankan destination promotions.

Russian tourists have boosted October arrivals sharply, enabling Sri Lanka to bounce back by 41% to 42,026 from the lowest 29,802 in September and surpassing the 550,000 mark in the first 10 months.

He disclosed that Sri Lanka also has accounted for around 600,000 arrivals so far and hoped to attract 200,000 more arrivals in November and December this year.

“However this number of tourists definitely lower than the anticipated target of one million arrivals and $2 billion revenue the government anticipated, he said adding that during the political crisis before new President Ranil Wickremesinghe was appointed Sri Lanka saw over 30 flights being pulled out on a weekly basis”.

He attributed this to the country’s situation, negative travel advisories by European countries and other similar factors.

“However we can all see that the country is now moving in the right direction and I predict that Sri Lanka would be able to net in revenue in the excess of $2 billion and over 2 million arrivals in 2023,”he added.

Russia will resume daily flights to Sri Lanka and several new airlines too would be once again flying to Colombo with high load factors. In addition Emirates, Qatar Airways and flydubai have also increased frequency to Sri Lanka.

Minister Fernando lashed out at the political participants of the protest march scheduled for today (2) and said that it’s solely aimed at disrupting the Sri Lankan economy and tourism sector which is now limping back to normalcy.

He said that JVP recently organized a calm protest in Hyde Park adhering to all norms of the society and such protests are welcome in democracy.

The boost in arrivals was largely influenced by the resumption of Russian flag carrier – Aeroflot as well as the successful series of roadshows conducted in select cities of India last month.

Russia also emerged as the second biggest source market in October after India and relegated the UK to number three.

Arrivals in the first 10 months amounted to 568,258 (as against 22,771 in COVID-hit 2021) – a welcome development for the triple-hit tourism industry, but performance is still down by 73% compared to the same period in pre-COVID 2018.

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