PM mulls new initiative to minimize coronavirus impact on tourism industry
Tourism authorities in coordination with the Health Ministry will prepare a new programme to address the coronavirus outbreak impact on tourism industry.
The decision was taken at a meeting between Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and members of the Hotel Association held at Temple Trees on Wednesday.
The discussion focused on a number of issues affecting the tourism industry in Sri Lanka.
Tourist arrivals to Sri Lanka declined sharply by 17.7 percent Year-on-Year (YoY) in February to 207,507 mainly driven by a record decline in arrivals from China due to COVID -19 outbreak while the arrivals from other key markets also dropped fuelled by virus fears with India, Australia and Eastern Europe being exceptions.
Tourist arrivals from China fell by 92.5 percent YoY to mere 2,058 in February, the lowest since last May, in the immediate aftermath of Easter Sunday attacks.
China also fell out from the top ten tourism source markets of Sri Lanka for the first time in recent years, according to Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) data.
Since last May, the decline in tourist arrivals was gradually improving up to last December, indicating a steady recovery of the sector following the Easter attacks.
However, the trend was reversed in January as the COVID -19 outbreak impacted Chinese tourist arrivals and global travel.
Cumulative tourist arrivals in the first two months of the year fell 12 percent YoY to 435,941.