SL tourism regains momentum to end the year with 750,000 tourist arrivals
Sri Lanka hopes to double tourist arrivals to 1.5 million next year and bring in US$5 billion (about Rs22.1 billion) in vital foreign exchange with the regaining of tourism to end this calendar year with 750,000 tourist arrivals and about $2 billion in earnings, Tourism Minister Harin Fernnado said.
An estimated US$4 billion loss in tourism revenue over the past two years also contributed to tipping Sri Lanka into the financial crisis.
The tourist arrivals for the first seven days of December have already crossed the 15,000 mark, indicating the revival of the hard-hit sector is on track.
The provisional data from the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) showed that for the December 1-7 period, the arrivals to the island nation totalled 16,169. This brings the total number of arrivals for the year, ending on December 7, 2022, to 644,186.
The daily arrival average for the first week of December is 2,302. In the recent weeks, with the start of the winter season, the daily arrival average for Sri Lanka tourism has been increasing.
The top three source markets for Sri Lanka tourism witnessed a slight change for the first week of December. The Russian Federation tops the list as the largest tourist traffic generator for Sri Lanka, accounting for 21 percent of the tourist arrivals for the month so far.
Ranking second is India, contributing to 18 percent of the total arrivals. Back on the third rank is the United Kingdom, which brought in 10 percent of the total number of tourists to the country.
In the month of October, the United Kingdom slipped to the fourth position. Taking over as the third largest tourist traffic generator last month was Germany, which in the first week of December ranked at the fifth position. Taking the fourth position is Australia, contributing to 6 percent of the total arrivals.
Contributing to the increased tourist arrival numbers is the arrival of the luxury cruise Azamara that called on the Colombo Port on December 4. The vessel brought in 600 passengers and 400 crew members who were on the island for three days.
Coming alive this month was also the FIFA Zone in Colombo, set up to lure football fans to Sri Lanka, between the ongoing matches at the World Cup in Qatar, Doha.
However, the Tourism Ministry and SLTDA have not shared the numbers and the success of the promotional packages that are being rolled out for the FIFA World Cup spectators.