Over 57,000 tourists in first 10 days of December; YTD figure tops 1.3 m mark 

In a promising start to December, Sri Lanka crossed the 1.3 milestone welcoming a total of 57,394 tourists in the first 10 days. This is the highest tourist arrivals recorded post-pandemic. 

With a target of 1.55 million tourists by the end of the year, Sri Lanka Tourism anticipates a robust month, aiming for a total of 242,135 arrivals. Authorities express confidence in reaching the set target, hoping to attract an additional 184,741 tourists before the year concludes. The cumulative total as of 10 December was 1.33 million. 

India (270,313), Russia (175,845) and the UK (116,814) emerged as the top source markets year to date (YTD) in 2023 so far. 

During the first 10 days of December, India topped as the leading source market, contributing significantly with 11,442 arrivals, constituting 20% of the total. Following closely Russia accounts for 14% with 8,004 visitors, while the UK, Germany and China contribute 11%, 9%, and 5%, respectively.

On 10 December three cruise ships Vasco Da Gama, Mein Schiff 5 and MS Seven Seas Navigator were called at the port of Colombo with around 4,000 passengers from all three vessels.

Sri Lanka’s diverse attractions, coupled with marketing efforts, are seen as key factors driving this positive trend in tourism. As the year draws to a close, the industry remains optimistic about achieving its ambitious goals, marking a noteworthy recovery for Sri Lanka’s tourism sector.

Tourism earnings in the first 11 months of 2023 were over $ 1.79 billion, reflecting a 78.3% increase from the corresponding period of last year, whilst November earnings stood at 

$ 205.3 million, the latest Central Bank data released showed. 

The authorities have set their sights on increasing arrivals to five million by 2029 and earning an impressive $ 21.6 billion within seven years. As part of its long-term strategy to welcome five million visitors, it hopes to lift the average spending per visitor to $ 4,000, with 2.5 million of them spending over $ 500 per day, indicating a concentration on luring high-end tourists. 

Source: https://www.ft.lk/front-page/Over-57-000-tourists-in-first-10-days-of-December-YTD-figure-tops-1-3-m-mark/44-756256