Tourist arrivals top 100,000 for 2 consecutive months

First 26 days of Feb. draw 100,536 tourists, pushing cumulative arrivals to 203,081 

For the first time after 2019, Sri Lanka Tourism has recorded over 100,000 tourist arrivals in two consecutive months this year so far.

Boosted by Russian travellers, during the first 26 days of February, a total of 100,536 tourists arrived in the country, propelling the cumulative figure to 203,081 continuing the growth momentum and boosting hopes for a good year.

As per provisional data released by the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority yesterday, Russia leads as the top source market, reflecting 26% or 26,718 of total arrivals during the first 26 days followed by India with 13% or 12,972, the United Kingdom with 8% or 8,129, Germany with 7% or 7,257, and France with 6% or 5,841. 

In addition, tourists were also welcomed from Australia, Canada, the US, Israel and the Maldives.

The data also showed that the daily average arrivals have slightly remained at 3,886 in the first 26 days of February, compared to below 2,000 recorded in 2022, following the exaggerated negative publicity on the ongoing economic crisis. 

The influx of Russians places it to remain strong as the top tourist source market for Sri Lanka YTD with a cumulative number of arrivals at 51,972, followed by India with 26,731, the UK with 16,612, Germany with 15,474 and France with 10,681.

“After absorbing the brunt of many COVID waves in 2020 and 2021 and political instability and economic crisis in 2022, Sri Lanka’s tourism industry has made a strong comeback in 2023. The credit of it should go to all stakeholders of the industry for all their tireless efforts,” Tourism Minister Harin Fernando told the Daily FT.

Noting that there were many travel advisories against Sri Lanka, he recalled that all stakeholders worked hard to lift them and got the airlines to resume operations amidst the economic crisis, scheduled power cuts and fuel crisis. 

“Sri Lanka is world famous for its resilience. Our stakeholders have faced multiple challenges and overcome the worst situations. We hope all these efforts will put the country back as a top destination in the globe in 2023. My sincere appreciation to the tourism industry and our officials for the effort they put into reviving the sector,” the Minister added.

Noting that Sri Lanka is unique in its own experiences, Minister Fernando stressed that there are multiple opportunities tourists can explore within short distances and beautiful weather conditions. 

“The National Tourism Policy blueprint is ready and Sri Lanka Tourism is keen to implement it. There are several tourism trade shows and promotional campaigns scheduled in the next few weeks to garner world attention for Sri Lanka. We are excited about 2023, as plans are underway to make Sri Lanka a year-round destination,” the Minister added. 

Analysis opined that the continuous positive publicity at the global level was also a major factor for the boost in arrivals post-political instability just a few months ago in 2022.

Source: Tourist arrivals top 100,000 for 2 consecutive months | Daily FT