Tourist arrivals in Sri Lanka exceed 700,000 in 2022

Sri Lanka tourism industry sets target of 1.5 million visitors in 2023
/ New Delhi
Srilanka Tourism
Tourist arrivals in Sri Lanka exceed 700,000 in 2022

Sri Lanka has received 701,331 visitors this year up to Dec 26

Tourism recovery in Sri Lanka has continued to accelerate with the arrival of the traditionally high season from October onwards. The country has received over 700,000 visitors so far this year and daily arrivals in December are up 42 pc over November, pointing to a robust recovery continuing for a while. The industry has set itself a target of 1.5 million visitors in 2023.
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Tourist arrivals to Sri Lanka crossed the 700,000 mark with 73,314 visitors during the first 26 days of December, says Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA), while releasing its provisional estimates for the total tourist arrivals. SLTDA says that the number of tourists received during December is the fourth highest in the year so far and the biggest monthly figure since April as well. The best arrivals for the year were recorded in March with 106,500 tourists, followed by February with 96,507 and January with 82,327.

The provisional data released by the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) says that a total of 701,331 visitors arrived in the country by December 26. It also showed that the daily average arrivals have grown by a healthy 42 pc to 2,820 in December, compared to 1,992 recorded in November. SLTDA says that the growth in December arrivals was largely due to Russian tourists.

The body adds that in the first 26 days of December, Russia topped the tourist inflow with 21 pc or 15,681 of total arrivals, followed by India with 13,892, UK with 6,510 Australia with 4,254, and Germany with 3,797. In addition, travellers from the US, Maldives, France, Canada, and Israel were welcomed in Sri Lanka, says SLTDA.

Russia also emerged as the second biggest source market year-to-date relegating the UK to number three. There had been 86,990 tourists from the Russian Federation. Giving a further boost, Red Wings, a national carrier of the Russian Federation, has begun charter flight operations to Sri Lanka’s Mattala International Airport twice per week. It will be the third Russian airline serving direct flights to Sri Lanka.

SLTDA says that India remained strong as the top tourist source market for Sri Lanka with a cumulative number of arrivals in the current year at 119,546. UK was third with 83,818, Germany with 54,355, France with 35,011, Australia with 30,020, Canada with 26,343, US 21,662, Maldives 17,954 and Poland 15,062.

The arrival of the luxury cruise liners ─ Azamara Quest, Ocean Odyssey and Silver Spirit as well as the resumption of many international airlines and charter flights, the global promotions at the ITM Paris, India and WTM were the key reasons for the favourable pick-up arrival figures, says SLTDA.

“As per our latest revised target, we were looking at around 750,000 tourists by the end of the year, but I think we will end up with 720,000, which I believe is still an amazing achievement,” Tourism Minister Harin Fernando was cited by a Colombo daily. Though the number is lower than the original target of 1 million visitors in 2022, the tourism minister expressed confidence that the target of tourism receipts of USD 1.7 billion in the current year.

Industry veterans expressed optimism about early indications of a successful winter season, whilst asserting that it was imperative to maintain the current momentum to achieve the set target of 1.5 million arrivals and over USD 5 billion in income next year.

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