Sri Lanka tourism earnings grow 11.6-pct to US$4.4bn: revised data

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka earned 4.4 billion US dollars from tourism in 2018, up 11.6 percent from 3.9 billion US dollars a year earlier, revised data from the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority showed.

Sri Lanka’s tourism arrivals grew 10.3 percent to 2.3 million tourists this year.

The growth comes despite racial violence in Digana, near the tourist hotspot of Kandy in March.

Although no tourists were involved in it, the declaration of a national emergency and a blackout on social media hit tourism, analysts say.

A political crisis in the last quarter of 2018, which turned out to be peaceful, had also contributed to missing a 2.5 million target for arrivals, Tourism Development Minister John Amaratunga has said.

The revised data is up from a provisional 3.5 billion US dollars estimated in January.

SLTDA said the average stay of a person grew to 11 days in 2018 from 10.9 days a year earlier, while the average daily expenditure was 174 US dollars, up from 170 US dollars.

On average, a tourist spent around 2000 US dollars during a trip to Sri Lanka in 2018.

The tourism promotion office has set a target of 3 million tourist arrivals and 5 billion US dollars in revenue for 2019, with multiple promotion campaigns and travel publisher Lonely Planet naming Sri Lanka as the world’s best country to travel to this year.

India, China, Britain and Germany were the leading tourism generating markets for Sri Lanka in 2018, making up nearly half of all arrivals.





Australia was one of the fastest growing markets in 2018, with arrivals up 36.5 percent from a year earlier to 110,928 tourists, with SriLankan Airlines resuming direct flights between the two countries.

Australia overtook France (106,449 arrivals) as the fifth most important tourism market for Sri Lanka in 2019.

The state has now targeted Australia for an upcoming three year tourism promotions campaign. (Colombo/Jan21/2019)

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