Tourism off to encouraging start as January income tops US$ 160mn
Income from tourism trade grows 6.7% YoY to US$ 161.8mnSri Lanka received over 100, 000 tourists in January Sharp depreciation of rupee made travelling to SL relatively cheapInflux of Chinese tourists expected with China opening up
Earnings from tourism trade continued its months-long ascent in tandem with the encouraging arrival numbers, which topped over 100,000 in January, a feat which became possible after almost a year.
This helped the trade to earn US$ 161.8 million in January, recording 6.7 percent growth over the same month in 2022.
Sri Lanka’s tourism is benefitting from the relative calm in society after the social and political upheaval seen last year, which spooked many prospective visitors. A number of key source markets issued travel advisories against travelling to Sri Lanka.
Meanwhile, the pent-up travel demand around the world after two years of the pandemic is also fueling the visitor numbers to Sri Lanka.
To get the maximum out of this pent-up demand, the country’s tourism authorities have launched several marketing campaigns in selective source markets backed by destination management companies.
Sri Lanka has also been featured by many global travel related publications and social media groups as one of the must visit travel destinations which helps luring in more visitors who are looking for getaways after years of seclusion during the pandemic.
Sri Lanka is also among the destinations that are poised to benefit from revenge travel from China, as that country is gradually opening up for outbound travel after three years of strict Covid-19 restrictions.
After sharp devaluation of the Sri Lankan rupee against the US dollar, Sri Lanka also offers a relatively cheap travel option for global travellers.
If the current monthly acceleration persists, Sri Lanka could end up achieving between US$ 2.0 to US$ 2.5 billion in foreign income from tourism in 2023.
While this is still half of the peak income earned in 2018, increased forex inflows remain vital for the dollar-starved nation.
Pandemic decimated Sri Lanka’s tourism industry, which was slowed down by the Easter attacks in 2019 before its recovery prospects were delayed by the economic crisis last year.
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