Tourist arrivals on gradual rise while OMICRON threat looms ahead

Tourist arrivals on gradual rise while OMICRON threat looms ahead

Tourist arrivals on gradual rise while OMICRON threat looms ahead

Written by Amani Nilar

05 Dec, 2021 | 3:21 pm

COLOMBO (News 1st); The number of international tourist arrivals to Sri Lanka during October 2021, was 22,771, which is a modest improvement from the sharp contractions in arrivals after April last year, when the tourist arrivals decreased to a zero, according to the statistics of the Tourism Development Board of Sri Lanka (SLTDA).

In a progress report, the SLTDA notes that this gradual growth reflects the improvement in international arrivals owing to factors such as vaccination advances around the world, softer restrictions for vaccinated travelers, use of digital tools to facilitate safe travel such as the EU COVID-19 Certificate and growing consumer confidence.

As of 31st October 2021, 60,695 tourists had visited Sri Lanka for this year, which is a decline of 88% over last year when 507,311 tourists had visited the country from January to 18th March.

Moreover, the SLTDA notes that the largest source markets recorded for the month of October 2021 were India, United Kingdom, Pakistan, Russia and Germany, whilst  India, United Kingdom, Germany, Kazakhstan and Ukraine were Sri Lanka’s top five
international tourist-generating markets from January to October this year.

The SLTDA also points out that tourism promotion in this post-COVID period will never be the same again, as researchers have noted that although promotion will be necessary for tourism markets to awaken from the lethargy after the initial impact, marketing, communications and travel trade engagement should not be the same as before.

The strategies of tourist destination organizations will not only be based on promotion, but also on reconfiguring the offer in the
light of the new social reality resulting from the COVID-19, SLTDA says, citing several researches on impact of COVID-19 on the tourism sector.

Moreover, the gradual curtailment of COVID 19 and the reopening of borders has increased hope for a gradual return of international tourism, the SLTDA states, however this too, becomes uncertain in the wake of the new ‘high risk’ designated variant of COVID-19, the OMICRON variant.

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