July tourist arrivals surpass 117,000, an 80% growth from June: Kishu

By Madhusha Thavapalakumar

Sri Lanka welcomed over an estimated 117,000 tourists in July 2019, which is a month-over-month growth of 80%, according Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB) Chairman Kishu Gomes.

Addressing the media this morning (31) at Temple Trees he noted that this arrivals figure includes the number of actual arrivals reported up to 25 July and a forecast for the rest of the month.

“If you compare our rate of recovery with other destinations which had a terror attack, our progress is much better than the progress of other countries” he added.

According to the tourism statistics, tourist arrivals in June were 63,072, a month over month growth of 67% and year-on-year negative growth of 57%. Therefore July has clearly continued the recovery path that began in June.

He added that the revenue loss since the Easter Sunday incident is estimated to be around $ 800 million to $ 1 billion maximum.

Soon after the Easter Sunday incidents, tourist arrivals went down to 37,000 from over 166,000 a month ago. May arrivals saw a year-on-year negative growth of 70.8%.

However, arrivals are expected to pick up further and record a year-end figure of 1.9 million to 2 million with the implementation of the free on arrival visa and a number of tourism promotion campaigns, scheduled to be held across the world for the rest of the year.

Gomes noted that the SLTPB is working with the destination representation companies in the target market. Apart from that SLTPB is planning to conduct consumer promotion in many countries including Malaysia, Switzerland, Italy and Australia.

In addition to this, SLTPB is also taking part in travel fairs across the world. Accordingly, 24 travel fairs have been scheduled from to date to the end of the year.

Free on arrivals visa programme will be implemented from tomorrow (01) for 48 selected countries for a period of six months. According to the Minister of Tourism Development, Wildlife and Christian Religious Affairs John Amaratunga, depending on the successfulness of the free visa on arrival programme, it would either be extended or terminated.