- Sri Lanka reopened its doors to foreign tourists on Jan. 21 after a hiatus of nearly 10 months
- Europe becomes largest source of tourist traffic, accounting for 93.6% of total arrivals in Jan.
- Ukraine, Belarus, China, Russian Federation and Germany become top 5 source markets
Sri Lanka has welcomed a total of 1,682 tourists for the month of January, recording a 99.3 percent decrease in arrivals compared to the corresponding month in 2020.
In January 2020, the country welcomed 228,434 tourists. However, this was before the global pandemic struck.
Since the country opened doors to international travellers on January 21, arrivals were seen slowly picking up with the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) promoting the island nation as a safe destination to travel during the global pandemic.
Following the outbreak of COVID-19 in Sri Lanka, the country closed its doors to tourists from March 18, 2020, for nearly 10 months.
For the 11-day period, Europe became the largest source of tourist traffic to Sri Lanka, accounting for 93.6 percent of the total traffic. Asia and Pacific accounted for 4.8 percent of the total traffic while Americas accounted for 1.6 percent.
The SLTDA stated that globally, all the regions were severely impacted by the pandemic and Asia and Pacific being the first to suffer the impact of the pandemic, recorded a decline of 83 percent.
The Middle East and Africa recorded a drop of 75 percent, whereas the Americas saw a decline of 69 percent, according to the World Tourism Barometer, January 2021.
For Sri Lanka, the top five international tourist-generating markets for January were Ukraine, Belarus, China, Russian Federation and Germany.
Ukraine was the largest source of tourist traffic to Sri Lanka with 86.8 percent of the total traffic received. Belarus accounted for 1.8 percent of the total traffic, while China, Russian Federation and Germany accounted for 1.6 percent, 1.2 percent and 1.1 percent, respectively.
The SLTDA said that it is noteworthy that increased tourist arrivals from the Central and Eastern European countries is mainly due to the pilot project carried out from December 28, 2020, by the Sri Lankan government.
Following the decision to revive Sri Lanka’s hard-hit industry, in addition to the ‘Hello Again’ campaign, a number of initiatives were kicked off to get tourists into the country.
One of the key efforts includes national carrier SriLankan Airlines resuming the Frankfurt-Colombo route by operating two direct flights per week to increase tourist arrivals from Germany.
The local tourism sector is currently operating a ‘bio-bubble’ concept and is offering a ‘quarantine-free’ experience with no minimum stay for international travellers
In a bid to increase arrivals, the SLTDA announced this week the further relaxation of the protocols, where the number of mandatory tests required was reduced to two, from three, for stays less than