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Sri Lanka now witnesses tourism surge after economic crisis.


By: Staff Writer

February 07, Colombo (LNW): Still, a buoyant Sri Lankan tourism authority is targeting 2.3 million tourist arrivals and $4.6bn in revenue this year.

To achieve this, the country has launched its first global tourism marketing campaign in 16 years, under the tagline “You Will Come Back For More, Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority Chairman Priyantha Fernnado said.

“We have identified nine tourist markets in which our digital marketing campaigns will be strengthened this year. We will also be getting vloggers and influencers to visit our country and produce promotional content,” Fernando added.

In late October, the government announced it will issue free tourist visas to visitors from seven countries, including China, India and Russia. This initiative, launched as a pilot project, will run until March 31, 2024.

Sri Lanka’s tourism industry marked a resounding start to the New Year by receiving more than 200,000 international visitors throughout the month of January.

In January, Sri Lanka received a total of 208,253 tourists, recording a staggering 103 percent year-on-year (YoY) growth. In January 2023, the island nation welcomed 102,545 visitors.

However, despite the industry having maintained a strong momentum of crossing the 200,000 milestone for two consecutive months, the tourist arrival rate is below the expected levels of the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA).

As per the projections of the SLTDA, in the lower case scenario, the tourist arrival expectation for January was 223,179, whereas in the upper scenario, the expectation was 241,962.

Based on the performance indicators set by the relevant authority, the island nation has missed the January target, the lower case scenario, by about 6.6 percent.

The January 2024 tourist arrival number is also lower than what was recorded in December 2023; it was 210,532.

Analysis shows that the weekly arrival average stood at about 47,000, whereas the daily arrival average was about 6,700.

India continues to remain as the largest tourist traffic generator for Sri Lanka tourism. The neighbouring giant contributed to 16 percent of the total arrivals, bringing in 34,399 visitors.

Ranking second is the Russian Federation, which accounted for 15 percent of the total arrivals, bringing in 31,159 tourists.

In the third position is the United Kingdom, which accounted for 8 percent of the arrivals, bringing in 16,665 international visitors.

While Germany and China rank as the fourth and fifth largest tourist traffic generators, the other key markets include France, Poland, Australia and the United States.

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