Tourism earnings rise to $ 687.5 m in first two months of 2024

The tourism earnings during the first two months have registered $ 687.5 million in tandem with the boost in arrivals.

Tourism earnings in February were at $ 345.7 million, reflecting a 118.2% increase from the corresponding period of last year, the latest Central Bank data released yesterday showed. Even on a month-on-month comparison, February earnings are 1.14% higher than January 2024. It is the highest earnings registered since 2020.

The industry expressed optimism about early indications of a significant performance, whilst asserting that it was imperative to maintain the current momentum to achieve the set targets by the year end.

For 2024, Sri Lanka Tourism is poised to achieve the ambitious 2.3 million visitors and over $ 4 billion in income.

During the first two months a total of 426,603 tourists were welcomed in the country, setting a positive start for the year.

Sri Lanka received over 200,000 tourists for three consecutive months, marking a hat trick. February arrivals also set a new benchmark, beating the previous high of 210,352 recorded in December since the onset of the pandemic in March 2020.

After absorbing the brunt of several COVID-19 waves in 2020 and 2021, followed by the crisis-ridden 2022 with adverse global publicity of political instability and economic crux, Sri Lanka’s tourism industry proved its resilience and made a strong comeback in 2023.

Tourism remains an important source of net foreign currency earnings for the country, as the foreign currency outflows on account of inputs are minimal.

According to the Central Bank data, between 2014 and 2019, tourism contributed to about 14% of total foreign currency earnings during this period. Unfortunately, Sri Lanka lost around $ 15 billion amidst multiple challenges during the past four years from tourism sector earnings.

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