Tuesday, June 18, 2024

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SL tourist arrivals crossed the 100,000 mark for the first time in two years,

Sri Lanka’s monthly tourist arrivals crossed the 100,000 mark for the first time in two years, whilst surpassing last year’s 194,500 figure already, despite multiple internal and external challenges.

As per the latest data released by the Tourism Ministry , a total of 101,192 tourists have arrived in the country during the first 29 days of this month, whilst pushing the cumulative figure to 280,026. On an average 3,489 tourists arrived daily in the country.

From 1 to 7 March, 25,507 tourists were received, whilst from 8 to 14 March, 24,891 travellers, 15 to 21 March, 24,918 holidaymakers and 22 to 29 March 25,876 visitors arrived in the country.

India topped as the highest tourist source market with 22,231, followed by the UK with 11,634 tourists, Germany 9,140, Russia 8,716 and France 5,493.

March figures were also boosted by over 600 French women athletes who arrived in the country to participate at the 20th edition of the ‘Raid Amazones’ which commenced the second leg of the adventure trail. France also emerged as the fifth top tourist source market in March.

In terms of cumulative tourist arrival data, India stands tall in top rank with 46,726 tourists, followed by Russia with 37,534, UK 29,718, Germany 22,259 and France 14,808. The other markets include Ukraine, Poland, Kazakhstan, Australia and the US.

Tourism accounts for close to 5% of Sri Lanka’s economy. The industry is hopeful of achieving 1.3 million visitors by the end of this year, while expecting tourism earnings to be $ 2.4 billion.

“Sri Lanka has gained the international spotlight after many years. Our successful vaccination rollout and Government’s eased post-COVID travel restrictions were key reasons for this level of confidence that we are witnessing from the international tourists today,” Tourism Minister Prasanna Ranatunga said.

He added that the market-centric promotions conducted in Russia, Ukraine, France, Germany, and UK in the past one year have impacted positively.

“We also got many international airlines to operate into Sri Lanka post pandemic and the support extended by them have really made a positive impact in bridging the connectivity barriers,” Ranatunga said.

In addition, the Minister asserted that Mattala Airport has re-activated international flights and after 55 years the Colombo International Airport Ratmalana (CIAR) has also recommenced the scheduled regional international flights.

Sri Lanka Tourism officials said that this was one of the greatest achievements the country and the industry celebrated after the Easter Sunday attacks in 2019.

“We hope this trend will continue. Sri Lanka is optimistically moving ahead, amidst all internal and external challenges. Sri Lanka Tourism is making use of every single opportunity, whilst putting much effort to support the tourism industry to progress and achieve the end goal,” he stressed.

He also said that in 2022, the Government has pledged the highest support towards the development of the industry to ensure quicker revival and enhancing the contribution to the socio-economic recovery in the country.

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