Tourist arrivals to Sri Lanka drop in August due to bad press in India

ECONOMYNEXT – Tourist arrivals to Sri Lanka plummet in August, a key festival month due to bad press, particularly in India, despite the removal of travel advisories by many European countries, a senior official has said.

The total number of tourist arrivals in August is 37,760, down 20% from 47,293 in July 2022, a month that saw much political instability and queues for commodities.

According to the Sri Lanka Development Authority, in the last two weeks of August arrivals dropped to 750 per day from around 1,000 per day.

Meanwhile, in mid-August, many European countries began removing travel advisories for Sri Lanka.

On August 26, France, Switzerland, Norway and the United Kingdom relaxed their travel precautions.

“Although many countries removed the travel advisory for Sri Lanka, the bad press, especially by international media, continued,” Priyantha Fernando, chairman of the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority, told EconomyNext.

“…It happened mostly in India. If you look at Indian arrivals, they are a big contributor to the sudden drop in arrivals towards the end of August.

Even though many European countries have removed travel warnings, India’s External Affairs Ministry spokesman Arindam advised its citizens to be careful when traveling to Sri Lanka due to fuel shortages and of foreign currency.

Related: Indians visiting Sri Lanka urged to beware of fuel situation and currency convertibility

Sri Lanka’s top three tourist source markets in August were the UK with 6,776 Britons visiting the country, followed by 5,340 Indians and 3,251 Germans.

While in July, 6,031 Indians visited Sri Lanka.

Overall, India remained the top visitor in the first 8 months with 74,792 Indians visiting the country, followed by 58,879 Britons and in third place 48,321 Russians.

From January 1 to August, the country welcomed 458,670 travellers.

By the end of 2022, SLTDA hopes to welcome 1 million travelers and generate a turnover of 1.8
Billions of dollars.

The island earned $824.9 million for the first seven months with 458,670 arrivals, central bank data showed. (Colombo/September 11, 2022)

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