Sri Lanka hopes to attract over 900,000 tourists by the end of this year as the country works toward restoring normalcy following recent economic and political instability, the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) said on Wednesday.
SLTDA Chairperson Priantha Fernando said in a statement that Sri Lanka aims to attract at least 972,475 tourists by the end of 2022, Xinhua news agency reported.
“We are not happy with the arrival figures over the last nine months. It is a gradual build-up, fighting against the negativity,” Fernando said.
“However efforts are being taken to increase the influx of international visitors for the remaining months of the year,” he added.
Sri Lanka’s tourist arrivals faced a drastic drop in September, when only 29,802 visitors entered the country despite the relaxation of travel restrictions imposed by key source markets.
According to industry experts, the country is well behind its competitors in the region in its tourism sector recovery. Competing nations such as the Maldives have been welcoming well over 100,000 tourists on a monthly basis for the past several months, while tourist arrivals to Sri Lanka have been ranging from 30,000 to 60,000, official statistics have shown.
Tourism, one of Sri Lanka’s leading foreign exchange earners, has suffered a setback due to the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic and political crises.