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Tourism revenue dips in May, recovery slow but steady

June 10, Colombo (LNW): The tourism sector is experiencing an anticipated slowdown attributed to seasonal fluctuations in visitor numbers, although it managed to generate a revenue of US$ 154.0 million in May, provisional data disclosed.

This figure represents a decrease from the US$ 225.7 million recorded in April, yet it marks an improvement from the US$ 100.0 million reported a year earlier when the industry was grappling with the aftermath of multiple crises.

Sri Lanka’s economic performance has been impacted by declining tourism receipts and other foreign currency inflows following the 2019 Easter attacks, as well as by two years of pandemic-related travel restrictions and event cancellations, exacerbated by the ‘Aragalaya’ in 2022.

These challenges have hindered the tourism sector’s recovery efforts, particularly as the global travel industry gradually rebounds from the prolonged effects of the pandemic, prompting several countries to issue travel advisories against visiting Sri Lanka, thus delaying what appeared to be a sustained revival in the sector.

Despite these setbacks, the tourism industry has nearly returned to pre-pandemic levels, with Sri Lanka attracting US$ 1,405.6 million in inflows over the past five months, just shy of the 900,000 visitor mark.

This marks an 86.9 per cent increase from the US$ 752.1 million generated during the same period last year, with 524,486 travellers.

Tourist arrivals for June 1-5 totalled 15,666, reflecting the usual dip in numbers during the off-season.

Sri Lanka’s tourism authorities had initially projected crossing the 900,000 tourist milestone by the end of May, but it was achieved on June 1. The average daily arrivals have now decreased to around 3,100.

India remains the primary source of tourist traffic for Sri Lanka, accounting for 27.7 percent of total arrivals so far in June.

The United Kingdom follows closely behind, contributing 8.7 per cent, while China ranks third with 6.8 per cent, and Bangladesh holds fourth place with 5.5 per cent of total arrivals.

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