Sri Lanka welcomes over 1 million tourists for 2023 – By Charumini de Silva

Sri Lanka welcomes over 1 million tourists for 2023 – By Charumini de Silva

Tourism triumphs 2022 in quick time in 2023 - By By Charumini de SilvaTourists at the arrival terminal of BIA

Source : ft

  • Records highest post-pandemic arrivals so far
  • SLTDA Chief Priantha Fernando says milestone marks triumph of perseverance, resilience of tourism industry stakeholders
  • First 24 days of September draw 88,885 tourists, pushing YTD to 993,203
  • Top source markets in September so far include India, UK, Germany, Russia and China
  • Authorities anticipate 31,316 more arrivals to meet monthly target of 120,201 within next 5 days
  • Industry expresses optimism to achieve over 1.55 m arrivals by year end

Sri Lanka is set to welcome its one millionth tourist today (26), marking a significant milestone after enduring multiple challenges over the past three years.  

“We are planning to receive one million tourists on Tuesday (26). Our earlier estimation was that it would happen on the 27th, coinciding with World Tourism Day,” Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) Chairman Priantha Fernando told the Daily FT.  As the one millionth tourist steps onto Sri Lankan soil, he said the entire country not only celebrates a remarkable numerical milestone, but also the triumph of perseverance and the unwavering spirit of its tourism industry stakeholders. 

“The resilience and adaptability displayed by the industry and its stakeholders underscore the commitment to safeguarding Sri Lanka’s reputation as a top-notch tourist destination,” Fernando added. 

In the first 24 days of this month, Sri Lanka received a total of 88,885 tourists, propelling the year-to-date figure to a commendable 993,203. This surge indicates a noteworthy improvement in daily arrivals, a particularly encouraging sign given that September is considered a shoulder month in the tourism calendar.  

For 2023, the industry has set an ambitious goal of over 1.55 million visitors. w The authorities anticipate 31,316 more arrivals during the following five days to meet the monthly target of 120,201 tourists.  

India continues to grow, reflecting 26% or 22,984 followed by the UK with 6,224, Germany with 6,009, Russia with 5,767, and China with 5,529. 

Tourists were also received from France, Australia, Canada, the US and Maldives, the provisional data released by the SLTDA showed.  

India also remains strong as the top tourist source market for Sri Lanka YTD with a cumulative number of arrivals at 193,231 or 19% followed by Russia with 130,904 or 13% UK with 89,563 or 9% Germany with 67,691 or 7% and China with 44,715 or 5%. 

Tourism earnings in the first eight months of 2023 were over $ 1.3 billion, reflecting a 56.7% increase from the corresponding period of last year, whilst August earnings stood at $ 210.5 million, the latest Central Bank data released showed.   

The authorities have set their sights on increasing arrivals to 5 million by 2029 and earning an impressive $ 21.6 billion within seven years. As part of its long-term strategy to welcome 5 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. 

This ambitious objective is a testament to the country’s determination to revitalise its tourism sector and re-establish itself as a premier global destination. 

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