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SL tourism sector records US $ 1.75 bn revenue with 11% MICE arrival increase

By: Staff Writer

Colombo (LNW): Sri Lanka’s tourism industry is entering into an encouraging resurgence track in the first eleven months of 2023, with the number of tourist arrivals showing a marked increase in comparison to the previous year, according to the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA).

In the wake of this tourism revival ,the first-ever Meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions( MICE ) tourism road map, outlining a visionary three-year plan for 2024- 2026 was unveiled by the Sri Lanka Convention Bureau (SLCB) on 15 November.

The Bureau has outlined its ambitious target for 2026, aiming to generate 20% of tourist arrivals through MICE activities, projecting an 11% increase in MICE arrivals from 2023.

One of the distinctive features of this initiative is the unprecedented collaboration between the public and private sectors, marking a significant milestone in Sri Lanka’s tourism development.

The tourism industry has demonstrated a robust resurgence, surpassing over $ 1.75 billion in earnings during the first 11 months of the year, accompanied by the arrival of over 1.27 million visitors.

“As per the provisional figures tourism earnings in the first 11 months are estimated at over $ 1.75 billion, reflecting a 55% increase from the corresponding period of last year, whilst November earnings stood around $ 160 million,” Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) Chairman Priantha Fernando disclosed.

He said November earnings were around US$ 160 million, contributing to the overall positive trajectory of the industry.

“Despite grappling with challenges stemming from the Easter Sunday attacks in 2019, the tourism sector not only weathered these storms but emerged stronger,” he added.

The surge in arrivals during November is particularly noteworthy, with Sri Lanka welcoming 151,496 tourists, a stark contrast to the crisis-ridden 59,759 seen in 2022. Nevertheless, when compared to the benchmark year of 2018, the industry still faces a 22.5% deficit.

Sri Lanka Tourism targeted 204,114 arrivals in November, but it fell short of 52,618 tourists becoming the fourth consecutive month to miss the monthly arrivals target.

India (30,339), Russia (24,912) and Germany (12,331) emerged as the top source markets in November.

Industry analysts view this upward trend as a welcome development for a sector that has navigated challenges over the past three years.

Despite setbacks, Sri Lanka Tourism is now cautiously optimistic and actively working to stimulate the sector, aiming to reclaim pre-crisis levels of activity in the coming years.

Anticipation is running high for the winter season, with the tourism sector setting ambitious goals to welcome 1.55 million visitors and achieve over $ 2.7 billion in income by year-end.

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