The highest post-pandemic arrivals so far have been recorded, as stated by SLTDA Chief Priantha Fernando. This milestone is noted to mark the triumph of perseverance and resilience by tourism industry stakeholders. In the first 24 days of September, 88,885 tourists have been drawn, contributing to a year-to-date total of 993,203. The top source markets in September so far include India, the UK, Germany, Russia, and China. It is anticipated by authorities that 31,316 more arrivals will be needed to meet the monthly target of 120,201 within the next 5 days. Optimism is expressed by the industry to achieve over 1.55 million arrivals by year-end.

The one millionth tourist is set to be welcomed by Sri Lanka today (26), marking a significant milestone after enduring multiple challenges over the past three years.

“It is planned to receive one million tourists on Tuesday (26). Our earlier estimation was that it would happen on the 27th, coinciding with World Tourism Day,” Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) Chairman Priantha Fernando informed the Daily FT. As the one millionth tourist steps onto Sri Lankan soil, it is noted that not only is a remarkable numerical milestone celebrated by the entire country, but also the triumph of perseverance and the unwavering spirit of its tourism industry stakeholders.

“The commitment to safeguarding Sri Lanka’s reputation as a top-notch tourist destination is underscored by the resilience and adaptability displayed by the industry and its stakeholders,” Fernando added.

In the first 24 days of this month, a total of 88,885 tourists were received by Sri Lanka, propelling the year-to-date figure to a commendable 993,203. This surge indicates a noteworthy improvement in daily arrivals, a particularly encouraging sign given that September is considered a shoulder month in the tourism calendar.

An ambitious goal of over 1.55 million visitors has been set by the industry for 2023. The authorities anticipate 31,316 more arrivals during the following five days to meet the monthly target of 120,201 tourists.

India continues to grow, reflecting 26% or 22,984 followed by the UK with 6,224, Germany with 6,009, Russia with 5,767, and China with 5,529.

Tourists were also received from France, Australia, Canada, the US, and the Maldives, as shown by the provisional data released by the SLTDA.

India also remains strong as the top tourist source market for Sri Lanka YTD, with a cumulative number of arrivals at 193,231 or 19%, followed by Russia with 130,904 or 13%, the UK with 89,563 or 9%, Germany with 67,691 or 7%, and China with 44,715 or 5%.

Tourism earnings in the first eight months of 2023 were over $1.3 billion, reflecting a 56.7% increase from the corresponding period of last year, while August earnings stood at $210.5 million, as per the latest Central Bank data released.

The authorities have set their sights on increasing arrivals to 5 million by 2029 and earning an impressive $21.6 billion within seven years. As part of its long-term strategy to welcome 5 million visitors, it hopes to lift the average spending per visitor to $4,000, with 2.5 million of them spending over $500 per day, indicating a concentration on luring high-end tourists.

This ambitious objective is a testament to the country’s determination to revitalize its tourism sector and re-establish itself as a premier global destination.

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