Sri Lanka tourism soars in 2023 and growth expectation in 2024

Wednesday, November 8, 2023


Sri Lanka

The year 2023 has proven to be a triumphant chapter for Sri Lanka’s tourism industry, with a remarkable return to 1 million visitors by September and an anticipated total of 1.5 million visitors for the year.

Despite the economic challenges that loomed at the beginning of the year, including an economic downturn, dollar deficits, and commodity price hikes, Sri Lanka’s resilient government efficiently managed the situation, swiftly putting the nation back on its feet.

This positive turn of events has ushered in a reinvigorated tourism sector, with new airlines operating and improved airline connectivity. In September, a notable milestone was achieved as Sri Lanka welcomed its one millionth tourist arrival.

Sri Lanka’s tourism industry has demonstrated its competitive edge, especially when compared to regional counterparts such as the Maldives and India. The primary source markets driving this growth include the UK, Germany, France, and Russia. The positive trend continues, and Sri Lanka remains optimistic about surpassing its annual target of 1.5 million tourists by the year’s end.

At the World Travel Market (WTM), Sri Lanka is poised to unveil a new brand for tourism. “Check-in” campaigns have already begun, paving the way for a “thematic” campaign in 2024. The primary objective is to attract more visitors from key markets while championing sustainable tourism initiatives.

The Hon. Minister of Tourism, Harin Fernando, emphasized the paramount focus on creating a robust country brand through comprehensive rebranding, highlighting Sri Lanka’s unique assets. He expressed the importance of prioritizing key source markets through year-round digital and PR campaigns, with a particular emphasis on the UK.

The UK has traditionally been an important market for Sri Lanka, with British visitors drawn to the unique culture, historical sites, wildlife, diverse gastronomy, and tea plantations. Sri Lankan Airlines, the national carrier, is gearing up to expand its routes, connecting more UK cities and key destinations, providing travelers with convenient access to Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka has secured enhanced partnerships and collaborations in 2023, including country partner status with key travel associations such as ABTA and the ITAA, while maintaining a longstanding relationship with Antor. These affiliations strengthen Sri Lanka’s rapport with the UK travel trade and influential media outlets, further positioning Sri Lanka as a top travel destination. The country’s ongoing promotions and new initiatives aim to maintain a competitive edge and continue to attract visitors from around the world. Sri Lanka’s tourism industry is poised for an exciting and prosperous 2024.

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