Sunday, September 24, 2023

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SL tourist arrivals sluggish below 100,000 in May as off season starts

By: Staff Writer

Colombo (LNW): Sri Lanka has seen a reduced number of tourists in May, a top Tourism authority official said, as the country’s off-season has started after a better than expected four months.

“If you go through the statistics of the last 50 years, May is the lowest month in the arrivals as it is the beginning of the off-season”, Priyantha Fernando, Chairman of Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority, disclosed.

Sri Lanka’s tourism industry has witnessed better-than-expected growth on the arrivals from the start of 2023.

Sri Lanka usually sees lower arrivals from May to October in the onset of monsoons amid frequent showers.

“The lowest arrivals are recorded during the month of May, it’s a shift of seasonality trend in the major generating markets. But yet we are doing what we have done in the past for the month because China is contributing,” he said.

“Occupancy over the next few months will start picking up in the eastern provinces and a little bit in hill countries,” Fernando said, adding that the peak Chinese arrivals fall within the off season for Sri Lanka.

The arrivals jumped 27 percent to 441,177 in the first four months of this year.“The target that we have set for the month of May based on the analytical and statistical way, it is at around 60,000 and we will be exceeding that target”, Fernando stated.

Tourist arrivals to Sri Lanka fell below the 100,000 mark for the first time this year due to the drop in momentum in the month of May,

Provisional data from Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) showed that in May, the island nation welcomed a total of 83, 309 international visitors. When compared with the corresponding month in 2022, the arrivals increased by 175.5 percent year-on-year (YoY).

The staggering increase is due to the island nation having grappled with the massive political and economic crisis that started April 2022, which resulted in source markets issuing travel advisories against visiting Sri Lanka.

However, May recorded the lowest tourist arrivals for this year so far. Typically, through out the years, tourist arrivals take a dip in May due to it being off-season.

The month of May recorded a daily arrival average of 2,687, and a weekly arrival average of 20,847, both of which were the lowest recorded for 2023.

Accordingly, the cumulative tourist arrivals for 1 January to 31 May reached 524, 486. Ranking as the top tourism traffic generator was India, which contributed to 28 percent of the total tourist arrivals. The Russian Federation ranked second, bringing in 9 percent of the total international visitors.

Moving up the list was Germany, which emerged as the third largest source market for Sri Lanka tourism, overtaking the United Kingdom. Germany contributed 8 percent to the total tourist arrivals, whereas the UK brought in 7 percent

Other key markets included Australia and China, accounting for 5 percent each of the total tourist traffic.

Sri Lanka has been successful in realizing 26 percent of its tourist arrivals target for the year. It would need to attract 1, 475, 514 international visitors in the next seven months, approximately 211,000 tourists per month to meet 2 million arrivals target.

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