March 10 (Bloomberg) – Sri Lanka said it expects a drop off in visitors from Russia, its top source of tourists, because of the war in Ukraine, according to a report from the nation’s Tourism Development Authority.
The South Asian nation, which is spiraling into an economic crisis, is badly in needed of tourism revenues to help shore up businesses and bring in hard currency.
“Given the importance of especially the Russian market, the implications of this crisis will be far reaching for Sri Lanka tourism, likely for a prolonged period of time,” the tourism board said in a report. “Accordingly, Russia is not likely to be a primary market for Sri Lanka from February onwards.”
Russia made up almost 16% of tourist arrivals in February, according to the report. Overall arrivals, which evaporated during the pandemic, rose 17% from the previous month to 96,507.
The tourism agency cited travel agents reporting cancellations from Russian tourists and a lack of new bookings, and flagged the closure of Russian airspace as a factor that might restrict arrivals from other European countries.