- Haul of 9,494 arrivals a huge plunge from average weekly influx of 20,000 in previous months
- Daily average arrivals fall from over 3,600 in March to 2,099 in April to 1,356 in first week of May
By Charumini de Silva
Less than 10,000 tourists have arrived in the country during the first week of the month, the lowest influx recorded in a week for the year so far, shattering industry hopes for a post-pandemic upturn.
The provisional data by Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA), showed from 1 – 7 May, a total of 9,494 arrivals — a huge plunge from the previous weekly influx of around 20,000 visitors.
It is evident that the downward trend triggered largely due to political, economic and social unrest.
The provisional data also showed that the daily average arrivals have dropped significantly from over 3,600 in March to 2,099 in April and to 1,356 in the first week of May.
With latest data, year-to-date (YTD) tourist arrivals amounted to 357,808 a development thanks to the relatively peaceful period of January to March. Already the industry has seen the surpassing of 2021 full year arrivals of 194,500 and expectations were for a quick rebound in 2022.
During the first week of May, the UK topped the tourist traffic to Sri Lanka with 13% or 1,262, followed by India with 1,086 (12%) and Russia with 1,074 (11%) tourists. In addition, tourists were also received from Germany, Canada, Australia, France, US, Maldives and Saudi Arabia.
However, the industry experts pointed out that the downward arrivals triggered earlier April month, when the Government declared State of emergency following the protest in Mirihana, which thereafter drew public to street from countrywide, demanding the administration to step down amidst worsening economic conditions post-independence.
India stands strong as the top tourists source market for Sri Lanka YTD at 57,475, followed by UK with 43,793, Russia 42,665, Germany 29,450, France 19,421, Ukraine 13,668, Poland 12,274, Australia 10,804, Canada 9,253 and US 8,986.
With April recording the lowest inflow for the year so far and a slow start for this month, industry feared that the numbers would further reduce as several countries have issued adverse travel advisories amidst certain airlines having decided to reduce the frequencies they operate into Colombo.