Tuesday, 13 May 2014 00:24
First four months of 2014 add $ 719 m foreign earnings to national economy
By Cheranka Mendis
Sri Lanka can surpass the $ 2 billion foreign revenue injection from the tourism industry by end this year, if conditions remain stable and arrival numbers continue on an increasing trend.
An anticipated 10-12% increase in domestic tourism activity this year, exceeding the six million listed last year, would add to the victory, in the backdrop of domestic travel exceeding two million by end March this year.
Sri Lanka Tourism Director General Dr. D.S. Jayaweera yesterday noted that given the steady rise in tourism numbers to reach half a million by end April (534,132) recording a 27.6% increase over the same period last year, the industry is poised to reach beyond $ 2 billion earnings by end this year.
By end April 2014, earnings have reached $ 718.9 million.
“We have seen a steady rise in tourist earnings over the years,” he said. In 2004 earnings from the tourism industry were recorded at $ 416 million. “Last year earnings recorded a healthy $ 1.75 billion.”
This would mean that the tourism industry could contribute a greater amount to the national economy, as the industry’s foreign inputs are only 10-20%, compared with 40-60% foreign inputs in the apparel industry.
The domestic tourism market is also on the rise, Dr. Jayaweera said. “More and more locals are keen to travel around the island.”
The trend is increasing with more opting to travel during weekends and long holidays thanks to infrastructure such as expressways in place.
“We are sure to record a number that is far more than six million this year, which was last year’s number.” Most of this travel takes place around wildlife and beaches.