March on the way to get 100,000 visitors

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By Mario Andree

Despite of the current economic crisis in Sri Lanka, which has led to planned power interruptions and shortage of fuel, tourist arrivals during the first 20 days of March has reached 72,047.

With the 72,047 visitors during the 20 days of March, the total number of visitors this year has surpassed 250,000.

The current numbers indicate that Sri Lanka would be able to attract more than 100,000 tourists in March 2022, for the first time since February 2020, a month before Sri Lanka imposed island-wide lockdowns to curb Covid-19. 

During the first two months of this year, Sri Lanka had managed to attract more than 178,834 travellers into the country with February bringing in 96,507 visitors and January 82,327.

During the first 20 days of March 2022, the highest number of visitors came from India followed by United Kingdom, Russia, Germany, France, Poland, Kazakhstan, United States, Canada and Czech Republic.

Russia was the biggest contributor to Sri Lanka tourism since it opened its borders in January 2021, however the ongoing tension in Russia and Ukraine are leading to drops in numbers.

Further, earlier this month the United Kingdom issued a travel advisory to its citizens who wish to travel to Sri Lanka, as the ongoing economic crisis has led to protests around the country due to shortages of essentials commodities.

Following the rapid spread of the Covid-19 pandemic globally and in the country, Sri Lanka opted to close borders to international travellers in March 2020. It was lifted during the latter part of January 2021.

According to the SLTDA, following the opening, more than 1,682 visitors arrived in the country in January, 3,366 in February and 4,581 in March last year showing some promise, but arrivals started to shrink thereafter with 4,168 in April and 1,497 in May. In June, the country welcomed 1,614 travellers, once again showing promise of improvement. In July, Sri Lanka greeted 2,429 travellers followed by 5,040 in August, 13,547 in September, 22,771 in October, 44,294 in November and 89,506 in December last year.