Tuesday, July 23, 2024

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Tourist arrivals in Sri Lanka top 200,000; surpassing the entirety of 2021

Sri Lanka has recorded over 200,000 tourists so far this year led by Russians, surpassing the 194,495 received for the entirety of 2021.

It is also the highest number of tourists received post-pandemic. As per the provincial data released by the Tourism Ministry 200,798 travellers have arrived from 1 January to 6 March.

Tourism Minister Prasanna Ranatunga said despite the challenges emanating from the global COVID pandemic as well as the unrest in Eastern Europe, it was a significant achievement by Sri Lanka to be recognised as a safe and secure destination.

As per the provisional data of Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) 21,964 tourists have arrived in the country during the first six days of March. Sri Lanka received 82,327 tourists in January and 96,507 in February — the highest number of tourists visiting the country in a month after two years.

Despite the conflict, Russia continues to dominate the top source market to Sri Lanka with 31,912. However, India was the top tourist traffic to Sri Lanka for the month of March, which accounts to 4,395, followed by Russia with 3,094, Germany 2,240 and 969 from France.

“Sri Lanka is currently focusing on new tourism markets,” the Minister said, adding that attention has been drawn to a number of countries which had not previously promoted Sri Lanka as a tourist destination and special promotion programs have been planned on targeting those countries.

Ranatunga also said that the Finance Minister had recently agreed to provide $ 56 billion for the Global Communication Campaign (GCC) in the second quarter of this year.

Sri Lanka plans to allocate $56 million for tourism promotion activities in its main tourist source countries during the second quarter of 2022.

The main targets for tourism promotion include Britain, India, Russia and China, said Minister of Tourism Prasanna Ranatunga said..

He said that they have an ambitious plan to attract tourists this year and Minister of Finance Basil Rajapaksa agreed to provide 56 million dollars for the promotion.

“We will also carry out promotional activities in other countries that are potential sources of tourism. We are trying to get tourists as groups,” Ranatunga said.

The Sri Lankan government approved in 2021 a five-year global action plan to promote tourism.

The Ministry of Tourism is currently in the process of selecting an event management firm, an advertising firm and a digital partner to implement the project.So far in 2022, over 150,000 tourists have visited Sri Lanka.

In December 2021, business consultancy McKinsey & Company told an economic forum in Colombo, organized by the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce, that Sri Lanka may take up to five years to reach the tourist figure recorded in 2018, prior to Easter Sunday attacks in 2019 and the outbreak of COVID-19 in the country in 2020.

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