Tourism earnings soar to nearly $ 1 b in 1H

Sri Lanka’s tourism industry has showcased an impressive rebound in the first half of 2023, with earnings reaching nearly $ 1 billion, along with steady growth in arrivals. 

Tourism earnings for the first six months amounted to $ 986.2 million, reflecting a substantial 45.1% increase compared to the same period last year, whilst June earnings stood at $ 158.4 million, the latest data released by the Central Bank showed.

The month of June witnessed a significant milestone for Sri Lanka as tourist arrivals surpassed the 100,000 mark, a feat not achieved in the past four years. At the end of last month, the country welcomed a total of 100,388 tourists, surpassing the initial target of 87,521 and registering an impressive year-on-year growth of 206%. 

This remarkable performance has injected new hope into an industry that had been severely impacted by multiple crises in recent years.

“A significant part of the economic recovery has come from the tourism industry, which has rebounded magnificently. The increase in visitors not only gave the tourism industry a much-needed boost, but it also had a weighty impact on the nation’s overall economic recovery,” Tourism Minister Harin Fernando told the Daily FT.

Arrivals in the first six months amounted to 624,874 (as against 32,856 or recording a 206% YoY increase in crisis-hit 2022) – a welcome development for the triple-hit tourism industry, but performance is still down by 46% compared to the same period in the benchmark year 2018.

The revival of Sri Lanka’s tourism industry has instilled renewed confidence in the sector’s potential for growth. With ongoing efforts to enhance infrastructure, promote sustainable tourism, and ensure the safety and satisfaction of visitors, the country is determined to regain its status as a preferred destination for travellers worldwide.

As the industry continues its journey towards recovery, stakeholders and authorities remain committed to implementing effective strategies that will propel Sri Lanka’s tourism sector to new heights and create a positive impact on the overall economy.

Source: Tourism earnings soar to nearly $ 1 b in 1H  | Daily FT