March notches fourth consecutive month of over 200,000 tourist arrivals

Tuesday, 2 April 2024 02:09 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}


  • Achievement reflects YoY increase of 67%, but still 10.4% lower compared to same period in benchmark year 2018
  • India, Russia, UK, emerge as top source markets in March and Q1

Tourist arrivals in March have exceeded the 200,000 mark for the fourth consecutive month, setting a positive start for the year.

Sri Lanka welcomed a total of 209,181 in March whilst pushing the cumulative figure to 635,784 maintaining the consistent upward momentum.  However, March failed to meet the monthly arrivals target of 236,350, similar to the past three months. In February 2024, arrivals set a new benchmark, beating the previous high of 210,352 recorded in December since the onset of the pandemic in March 2020.  The data reflects a sharp growth of 67% year-on-year (YoY), largely influenced by the winter season travel, enhanced connectivity and service from more cruise lines and airlines and growing traveller confidence following promotions. Nevertheless, the performance in March is still 10.4% lower compared to the 233,382 in the benchmark year 2018. 

In March, an average of 6,748 tourists arrived in the country daily, as against the 7,529 daily average in February 2024 indicating the end of the winter holiday season. 

The first week of March saw 47,221 tourists and the trend slowed down in the second week, whilst in the third week it picked up to 47,972, whilst peaking during the fourth to 70,005 visitors following two cruise lines called at the Colombo port on 24 and 30 March.

India dominated arrivals in March securing the top source market for Sri Lanka with 31,853 tourists, followed by Russia with 28,016, UK with 21,540, Germany with 16,259 and China with 14,836. In addition, tourists were also received from countries such as France, Australia, US, Poland and Canada.

For 2024, Sri Lanka Tourism has set an ambitious target to welcome 2.3 million tourists and earn over $ 4.5 billion.

India also maintains its position as the top tourist source market for Sri Lanka year-to-date (YTD), with a cumulative total of 96,279 arrivals, followed by Russia with 91,205, and the UK with 58,819.