Colombo, July 21 (ECONOMYNEXT): Sri Lanka’s tourist arrivals have increased to an average 4,000 a day in the second week of July from 3,200 arrivals a day a week earlier, recovering further from the Easter Sunday attack with more visitors from India, a top official said.
“There’s a significant increase in arrivals now, and we are averaging about 4,000 arrivals per day,” Sri Lanka Tourism Promotions Bureau (SLTPB) Chairman Kishu Gomes told EconomyNext.
This is a 45 percent fall from the 7,026 average daily arrivals from July 2018.
Arrivals had plunged 71 percent in May 2019, immediately after the Jihadist terror attack on churches and hotels, to around 1,200 a day.
It had then recovered to 2,102 arrivals a day in June, which was a 57 percent fall.
Gomes said that tourists from neighbouring India have contributed most towards the growth seen in the second week of July.
In June too, the highest number of tourists (15,048) came from India, which has traditionally been Sri Lanka’s largest tourism market.
The industry is expecting more Indian visitors, after Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s state visit to Sri Lanka in June, the launch of budget promotional packages and Air India restarting its third daily flight to Colombo from the second week of July in a show of solidarity for its neighbour.
A festival in August, which will include participation of Bollywood actors and Indian cricket stars is expected to boost arrivals further, Gomes had earlier said.
SLTPB is about to spend 416 million rupees on a public relations campaign and 500 million rupees on a short-term marketing campaign to drive global arrivals to Sri Lanka.
The cabinet has also approved a cut in aviation fuel sale prices, ground handling charges and an embarkation tax to reduce air fares to Sri Lanka.
The Easter Sunday attacks had targeted three luxury hotels in Colombo, while an attack on a fourth had failed.
Of the 259 persons killed in the attacks, 45 were foreigners.
Tourism advisories recommending against travel to Sri Lanka which were implemented immediately after the attacks had been relaxed in May and June, faster than many expected, helping the country recover faster, the central bank has said.
(The featured image at the top shows Indians showing interest in the Sri Lanka stall at a travel mart)