• Last Update 2022-08-09 20:18:00

Tourism makes strong comeback with nearly 90, 000 arrivals in December


Sri Lanka attracted close upon 200,000 visitors for the year end 2021 with 89, 506 of these arriving in December, Sri Lanka Tourism stated.

This is a doubling of the numbers that came in November with Sri Lanka announcing to the world, as of 1st October, relaxed and "bubble free" health guidelines and protocols for vaccinated visitors that were to be followed on planning a trip to the country. 

A media release decribed the recovery as "an incredible win for Sri Lanka Tourism and a just reward for the tireless work to keep the Island nation in the news giving due prominence to all the accolades earned." 

These accolades include praise from the World Health Organization for an excellent vaccination programme and the UN World Tourism Organization's (UNWTO) recognition of Sri Lanka's post pandemic recovery as a benchmark for other countries in the region and World Travel & Tourism Council’s awarding of the ‘Safe Travel Stamp’ for Sri Lanka.

"Comparison of post COVID arrival figures with pre COVID times is irrational, however, the positive fall out is Sri Lanka has moved towards being a niche market destination especially for the post covid travellers."

The gradual and phased out opening helped the slow yet gradual revival of the Tourism Industry where in the month of December 2021, Sri Lanka recorded the highest number of arrivals in 20 months. 

The 'Safe and Secure Hotels' programme, which started even before the success of the vaccination drive has reaped rewards and is a measure of the planning going on at Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority, it further said.

India remains the largest source market to Sri Lanka and a shift in the trend of the visitor is evident with more affluent travellers visiting and bookings at niche and exclusive properties being in high demand.

At a time when Asia's tourism giant Thailand regularly recording low arrivals and Indonesia and Bali in particular have now had to shift their marketing towards attracting locals to their properties, to keep the industry alive, Sri Lanka's niche market luxury hotels have registered positive visitor numbers along with great accolades.

"With 56,268 visitors from India topping the list, followed by Russia 16,894, United Kingdom 16,646,
Germany 12,442, and Ukraine 7,037, destination Sri Lanka did very well in comparison to other regional tourism heavy weights like Thailand and Indonesia," the release stressed. 

The drop in previously strong source markets is attributed to the re-emergence of COVID in Europe and stricter border controls imposed by the respective countries. Sri Lanka Tourism is continuing promotions in the region with the strategy of keeping the destination alive in the minds of future travellers. 

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