Sri Lankan tourism is on the path to recovery. In October, the country recorded almost 23,000 international tourist arrivals, reaching a new high for 2021. The recovery in Sri Lanka’s international arrivals is set to continue, with a total of at least 100,000 tourists forecast by year-end.
The total number of international tourist arrivals to Sri Lanka during October 2021 reached 22,771. This represents a rather good improvement compared to previous months. In September, total international arrivals passed the 10,000 mark for the first time since April 2020.
The country has seen a slow recovery since Sri Lanka reopened partially to visitors in December 2020. Between January and June 2021, international arrivals fluctuated between 1,500 and 4,500 monthly arrivals. In July, total arrivals passed for the first time again the 5,000 mark.
According to the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority, this reflects the improvement in international arrivals owing to factors such as vaccination advances around the world, softer restrictions for vaccinated travellers, use of digital tools to facilitate safe travel such as the EU COVID Certificate and growing consumer confidence. At the end of October 2021, 60,695 tourists already visited Sri Lanka for this year. It is a decline of 88% over last year, as 507,311 tourists had visited the country from January through March 18, when the country suspended all international arrivals.
Asia and the Pacific region represented the largest source of inbound movements to Sri Lanka with 56.4% of all arrivals in October. Pent-up demand came especially from neighbouring countries such as China, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Pakistan, and India. Europe accounted for 36.3% of the total traffic while the Americas accounted for 5.7%. The largest source markets in October 2021 were India, United Kingdom, Pakistan, Russia and Germany.
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