Tourist arrivals exceed 900,000

Sri Lanka Tourism surpassed the milestone of 900,000 tourist arrivals, fuelling optimism within the industry to meet year-end targets. 

The accomplishment marks a striking growth, a milestone previously reached only in August of the preceding year. This landmark was achieved with the arrival of 3,374 tourists on 1 June, which pushed the cumulative figure to 900,153. It underscores the substantial progress made in the tourism sector, reflecting high interest and engagement with Sri Lanka as a favoured destination for travellers.

During the first five days of June alone, Sri Lanka welcomed 15,666 tourists, pushing the year-to-date (YTD) figure to 912,445 visitors. 

For 2024, Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) forecasts 2.3 million arrivals and an income of $ 4 billion. 

From 1 to 5 June, India, the UK and China emerged as the leading source markets. In addition, tourists were welcomed from Bangladesh, Australia, Germany, the US, Russia, Maldives and France.

The SLTDA is anticipating an influx of 148,695 tourists for June 2024. 

Despite these promising numbers, the industry has not met its monthly targets in 2024 and not crossed 150,000 arrivals since March. 

India continues to maintain its position as the single biggest source market year-to-date (YTD) and has now contributed over 160,000 visitors. The top three YTD markets include India (160,184), Russia (111,170) and the UK (81,446). 

However, the industry analysts acknowledged that the uptick in tourist numbers compared to 2023 is a positive sign for tourism sector, which is crucial for the country’s economic recovery and growth. “Despite the seasonal trend of low arrivals, boost in numbers will spark optimism within industry stakeholders,” they added. 

Sri Lanka Tourism has also stepped up its efforts during this lean season, launching a global PR and digital campaign in 15 markets to woo more visitors.

During the first four months of 2024, earnings from tourism rose by 92% to over $ 1.25 billion. The strong performance highlights the resilience and appeal of Sri Lanka as a tourist destination.


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