ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s tourist arrivals dip in August, a key festival month due to bad press especially in India despite many European countries removing travel advisories, a top official said.
The total number of tourist arrivals for August is 37,760, down 20 percent compared to 47,293 in July 2022, a month that saw a lot of political instability and commodity queues.
According to Sri Lanka Development Authority, in the last two weeks of August, arrivals dipped as low as 750 per day from around 1000 per day.
Meanwhile, by mid-August, many European countries started removing travel advisory on Sri Lanka.
By August 26, France, Switzerland, Norway and the UK relaxed their travel caution.
“Although many countries removed the travel advisory on Sri Lanka, the bad press, especially by the international media continued,” Priyantha Fernando, the chairman of Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority told EconomyNext.
“…This happened especially in India. If you look at the Indian arrivals, they contribute a lot to the sudden drop in arrivals towards the latter part of August.”
Even as many European countries removed the travel warns, India’s Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Arindam advised his citizens to be cautious when travelling to Sri Lanka due to the fuel and foreign currency shortages.
The top three tourist source markets for Sri Lanka in August were the United Kingdom with 6,776 British visiting the country, followed by 5,340 Indians and 3,251 Germans.
Whereas in July, 6,031 Indians visited Sri Lanka.
Overall, India has remained the top visitor for the first 8 months with 74,792 Indians visiting the country, followed by 58,879 British and at third place 48,321 Russians.
From January first to August the country has welcomed 458,670 travellers.
By the end of 2022, SLTDA is hopeful of welcoming 1 million travellers and generating a revenue of 1.8
The island has earned 824.9 million dollars for the first seven months with 458,670 arrivals, according to central bank data. (Colombo/Sept11/2022)