Colombo: Sri Lanka’s earnings from tourist arrivals stood at well over USD 1,129 million in the first eleven months of this year, the cash-strapped country’s central bank has said, an impressive surge buoyed by the resumption in international flights and easing of curbs related to the coronavirus.
The tourism sector is the main source of foreign exchange earnings in the country.
However, the onset of the pandemic in 2020 severely crippled this sector, and one of the major reasons for Sri Lanka’s economic travails.
Sri Lanka welcomed 59,759 tourists to the country in November, an impressive 42 per cent rise compared to the previous month, the Central Bank of Sri Lanka said in a statement Sunday.
Consequently, the island nation’s earnings from international tourist arrivals for November touched USD 107.5 billion, with the cumulative tally in the first ten months of the year notching up to a whopping USD 1129.4 million, it said.
In October this year, the country had earned USD 75.6 million as revenues through tourism.
Overall, 6,28,017 tourists have arrived in the country in the first eleven months of the year, the report said.
The daily average of tourist arrivals in November stood at 1991, a significant jump when compared in October, which saw 1,355 tourists, it added.
The robust growth in tourist arrivals is due to the resumption in a number of international flights to the island nation.
Last month, Sri Lanka also witnessed nearly 4,000 tourists by sea, the first since the outbreak of the pandemic.
On November 18, luxury cruise ship Viking Mars arrived at the Colombo Port, bringing in 900 tourists, according to the Daily Mirror Sri Lanka newspaper.
Earlier this week, super luxury cruise ship Mein Schiff 5 arrived in Sri Lanka with around 3,000 passengers, the report said.
Russians accounted for around 23 per cent in the total tourist arrivals in November, followed by Indians, who contributed to 17 per cent of the arrivals, the Mirror report added.
Meanwhile, the Sri Lankan government introduced a mobile app last week aimed at improving the safety of international tourists.
Tourism minister Harin Fernando has said that through this app, tourists will be allowed to check their locations, according to news portal newsfirst.Lk.
Sri Lanka has been grappling with unprecedented economic turmoil since its independence from Britain in 1948.
The economic crisis has also created political unrest in the country.
There have been street protests in Sri Lanka against the government since early April due to its mishandling of the economic crisis.
In September, the IMF announced a USD 2.9 billion bailout package to help the country tide over its worst economic crisis.
A crippling shortage of foreign reserves has led to long queues for fuel, cooking gas, and other essentials while power cuts and soaring food prices have heaped misery on the people.