The tourism sector in Sri Lanka has shown signs of recovery and optimism, with a set of strategies aimed at boosting tourist arrivals, especially targeting high-end travelers. Here's an overview of the current situation
The tourist arrivals have been increasing, with a significant year-on-year rise noted in recent months. For instance, tourist arrivals soared by 275.6% year-on-year to 111,938 in September 2023, following a 261.2% advance in August 2023. In the first week of October 2023 alone, Sri Lanka welcomed over 25,000 international tourists.
Sri Lanka has revised its tourism target for 2023, now aiming to attract 2 million tourists, up from the initial target of 1.5 million. This revision was influenced by a remarkable record rise in March arrivals. The country hopes to boost revenue to overcome the economic crisis, with tourism accounting for about 5% of Sri Lanka's GDP.
The country is focusing on attracting high-end travelers, with an emphasis on meetings, incentives, conferences, events (MICE), adventure, and wellness tourism segments.
Weather and Travel Advisory
October experiences high humidity, with average temperatures around 27 degrees Celsius, making it a good time to visit for those who don't mind the tropical climate. However, a travel advisory from the US government has mentioned that protests over the economic and political situation in Sri Lanka could occur at any time, advising citizens to exercise increased caution.
The ongoing foreign exchange crisis in Sri Lanka, exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic and the 2019 Easter terror attacks, has impacted the nation’s earnings from tourism. The crisis has led to a revenue decline, making the revival of the tourism sector crucial for economic recovery.
There's an annual shortfall of US $6 billion to accommodate basic needs such as fuel, gas, medicine, fertiliser, and food, making revenue from tourism vital for the government.
These points illustrate a scenario where Sri Lanka is striving to revitalize its tourism sector amidst economic challenges, while ensuring the safety and health of both locals and visitors through new travel protocols.