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November records highest tourist arrivals since pandemic outbreak

5 December 2023 04:28 am - 9     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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  • November tourist arrivals total 151,496
  • However, November tourist arrival target missed by 25%
  • Previous instance SL crossed 150,000 mark was in November 2019
  • Top source markets for November are India, Russian Federation and Germany 

November has recorded the highest tourist arrivals for the year so far, bringing in a total of 151,496 international visitors. However, despite much confidence of the tourism authorities, the monthly target was missed by 25 percent. 

For the first time since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic (March 2020), the island nation crossed the 150,000 tourist arrival mark. While the authorities projected an influx of 204,114, only 75 percent of the target was realised. The tourist arrival target set for November 2023 was 204,114. 

The daily arrival average too reached a new milestone, crossing the 5,000 mark. 

The previous instance Sri Lanka crossed the 150,000 tourist arrival milestone was in November 2019, with 153,123 international visitors. This was followed by 195,582 in November 2018 and 253,169 in December 2019. 

In 2018, which is regarded as the best year for Sri Lanka tourism in history, the month of November drew 195,582 tourists, the seventh highest for that year.  

With the November 2023 arrival numbers, Sri Lanka’s cumulative tourist arrivals for the first 11 months of the year stand at 1.27 million. 

India continued to rank as the largest tourist traffic generator for Sri Lanka, accounting for 20 percent of the total arrivals for the month. The Russian Federation ranked as the second largest, bringing in 16 percent of the total number of tourists, whereas in the third place was Germany, which accounted for 8 percent of the total arrivals for the month. 

The other key markets included the United Kingdom, Australia, China, the United States and France. 

Sri Lanka will see tourist arrivals from India, China and Russia expand further in the coming months, as the government launched last week a free visa regime, which will be rolled out till March 31, 2024. The three key markets are included in the list of seven countries for which the free visa scheme is applicable.  The other four countries are Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia and Japan, which are not among the top 10 source markets for Sri Lanka tourism.

Japan ranks as the 16th largest tourist traffic generator for Sri Lanka, whereas Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia are not on the top 20 list.  


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  Comments - 9

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  • Tax Payer Tuesday, 05 December 2023 10:39 AM

    The Tourist Development Board is working hard expending a lot of funds to provide improved facilities to the Tourists. In return SL is gaining much needed Dollars for our empty Treasury. On the other hand Ranil is gallivanting all over the world with his cronies wasting the little Dollars earned.

    Lalith Tuesday, 05 December 2023 02:42 PM

    Ranil also earning dollars as he carried a begging bowl even to dubai... A 100 strong delegation carried 100 bowls

    Hodor Tuesday, 05 December 2023 01:26 PM

    Sri Lanka is ok for one visit. Once done there are better places is SE Asia.

    U are wrong - Never ending Places to Visit Wednesday, 06 December 2023 12:57 PM

    Depends on individuals! I come often as so many places besides the known tourist places to visit.

    Gunam Kengan Tuesday, 05 December 2023 03:15 PM

    ... most of them are back-packers staying in shanties and having bread and pol sambol. Our hotels are empty!

    Observer Tuesday, 05 December 2023 03:43 PM

    Ukrainian/ Russian girls having long stays in rent houses in down south Madagascar and African girls who stay in some Colombo apartments make prostitution , serve local rich crowd are counting as tourists? They earn SLR and change into USD and take out from the country.

    Inshi Wednesday, 06 December 2023 01:21 AM

    The winter season must be the best time to promote tourism and the authorities should do their best to make the most of it. Sri Lanka has so much to offer.

    Longer Tourist VISA Needed Wednesday, 06 December 2023 12:22 PM

    Completed a holiday in SL recently. Would have stayed longer if a longer VISA (say around 3 to 4months) was allowed initially. Should give tourists a longer VISA for those who have time so that we can purchase the appropriate air ticket b4 planning our trip

    espe05 Tuesday, 12 December 2023 12:11 AM

    The government's goal of attracting five million tourists to the country in 2024 could be achieved more quickly if the tourist visa system were adjusted. The government has introduced free visas for a limited period until March 31, 2024, for 7 countries. This should urgently be expanded to other countries where many tourists come from, such as Germany and Great Britain. My example: My wife and I have an ETA visa for 30 days, US$50 each = US$100. We would like to extend the vacation by 5 days and need an extension for this (new visa 50 US $ each). That's a total of 200 US $. That's extreme! We are considering whether the extension makes sense. Nationals of China, India, Indonesia, Russia, Thailand, Malaysia and Japan benefit from the free visa system.


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