Sri Lanka hopes to increase tourist arrivals for 2022 by at least five fold from the number achieved in 2021, the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) said.
As the rate of tourist arrivals to Sri Lanka is well below expected levels, the SLTDA leadership assured that efforts are being taken to increase the influx of international visitors for the remaining months of the year.
According to SLTDA Chairman Priantha Fernando, the aim is to reach a target of attracting at least 972,475 tourists by the end of 2022. This is five times more than the total tourist arrivals for the year 2021.
“We are not happy with the arrival figures over the last 9 months. It is a gradual build up, fighting against the negativity,” said Fernando sharing his view on Twitter yesterday.
Prompting the SLTDA chief to take to Twitter was the drastic drop in the September arrivals, where only 29,802 visitors entered the country despite the relaxation of travel restrictions that was imposed by key source markets.
“September, throughout history has always recorded the lowest arrivals. Even in the past, comparing September with any other month of that year, on a percentage basis, the drop has been much greater,” he said.
The island nation is well behind its competitors and its regional peers in its tourism sector recovery. Competing nations such as the Maldives have been welcoming well over 100,000 tourists on a monthly basis for the past several months while tourist arrivals to Sri Lanka have been ranging from 30,000 to 60,000.
Sri Lanka saw tourist arrivals doubling on a month-on-month basis from January to March, before the numbers drastically dropped due to the escalation of political and economic crises in the country.