Tourism kicks off December on a high

A group of leading travel agents from Switzerland invited by “Let’s Travel” toured the city of Colombo and witnessed the night life over the weekend. Here are some of the travel agents in Park Street Mews with Tourism Minister Herrin Fernando. Senior restaurateur Harpo Gooneratne and SLCB chairman Thisum Jayasuriya are also present

  • Average daily arrivals are 2,310, the highest since April
  • SL welcomes 16,169 tourists in first week of December, pushing YTD arrivals to 644,168
  • Russia, India and the UK, respectively, appear as the top source markets for December so far
  • January-November profit of 1.12 billion dollars which reflects a growth of 313% compared to a year earlier

The tourism industry is off to a promising start in December, with average daily arrivals exceeding 2,300 compared to 1,900 in November, marking the highest since April.

Sri Lanka welcomed 16,169 tourists during the first week of the month, driven mainly by Russian travelers, provisional data from the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) showed.

The first week of December arrivals also pushed the year-to-date total to 644,168, raising expectations among the tourism industry for a good start to the winter season which runs until the end of March 2023.

Average daily arrivals rose 31% to 2,310 in the first week of the month, compared to 1,776 registered in the first week of November. Russia emerged as the top source market, accounting for 21% or 3,404 of total arrivals over the first seven days, followed by India with 18% or 2,856, the UK with 10% or 1,519, Australia with 6% or 1,016, and Australia with 4% or 683.

The arrival of the luxury cruise ship, Azamara Quest, the renewal of many new international airlines and charter flights, as well as the global promotions at ITM Paris, Indian and WTM were the main reasons for the favorable pickup arrival figures.

India remains strong as the leading tourism market for Sri Lanka YTD with cumulative arrivals of 108,510, followed by UK with 78,827, Russia with 74,713, Germany with 51,241, France with 33,231, Australia with 26,782, Canada with 24,826, USA with 19,265, Maldives and Poland with 15,974 14,726.

Tourism earnings in the first eleven months were $1.12 billion, reflecting a 313% increase from the same period last year affected by COVID-19.

In November, tourism profits were estimated at 107.5 million dollars, compared to 115.4 million dollars in the same period last year.

Sri Lanka has lost over $10 billion in foreign exchange earnings, which generate over $4.3 billion a year, due to the epidemic over the past two years.

Maldivian tourist arrivals cruise to pre-Covid levels despite no Chinese

Despite the absence of visitors from China, the Maldives welcomed over 1.5 million holidaymakers, returning to pre-Covid levels.

The Maldives Ministry of Tourism said that over 1.52 million tourists were welcomed as of December 7, mostly by Indian travelers.

The target set for tourist arrivals by the island nation per year is 1.6 million.

According to the monthly statistics, India ranked the top source market with 209,725 passengers reflecting 14% of total arrivals in November, followed by Russia, the UK, Germany and Italy.

It also showed that the average daily arrival was 4,465 as of November 30, while the average stay was eight days.

In 2019, the Maldives received a total of 1.70 million tourists, while 16.7% were traveled by Chinese travelers.

China was the top source market for the Maldives from 2010 to 2019.

In 2020, total arrivals to the Maldives dropped significantly to 555,494 as a result of the COVID pandemic and it gradually recovered to 1.32 million last year.


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