The tourist arrivals in the first seven days of February have crossed the 25,000 mark, maintaining the momentum of the inflow of international visitors that was achieved in the past several weeks.
The provisional data released by the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority showed that for the February 1-7 period, the island nation welcomed a total of 26,506 tourists.
The local tourism sector would need to lure in at least 78,494 tourists in the coming three weeks to realise the monthly arrival target of 105,000 arrivals.
When compared with the corresponding period in 2022, the tourist arrivals have increased by about 18 percent. For February 1-7, 2022, Sri Lanka welcomed 22,411 international visitors.
This brings the total arrivals for the January 1 to February 7 period to 129,051, which is a 23 percent growth year-on-year. The arrivals for the corresponding period in 2022 totalled 104,738.
The daily tourist arrival average for the month so far is 3,786, which is higher than the daily arrival average for January, which was 3,307. For the first week of January, the daily arrival average
However, when compared with the previous week—the fourth week of January—the arrivals have dropped by 21 percent. In the last week of January, Sri Lanka saw 33,579 tourists coming in.
Topping the list as the largest source market for Sri Lanka Tourism was the Russian Federation. It accounted for 25 percent of the total tourist arrivals to the country in the first week of February. The second largest tourist traffic generator was India, bringing in 13 percent of total traffic.
According to the Tourism Ministry, the inflow of tourists from the neighbouring giant could be much higher, if not for the negative portrayal of Sri Lanka by certain media platforms.
However, Tourism Minister Harin Fernando said the perception about Sri Lanka in the Indian market would improve, as several road shows have been planned to promote the destination. Further, the backing of the Travel Agents Association of India is also expected to help improve the arrival numbers from that country, Fernando told a recent press briefing held to announce MICE Expo 2023, in Colombo. Ranking as the third largest contributor to tourism traffic in the first week of February was the UK, which brought in 9 percent of the total tourist arrivals.