Tourist arrivals dip to 1.9 mn in 2019 | Daily News


Tourist arrivals dip to 1.9 mn in 2019

Tourist arrivals to Sri Lanka in the year of 2019 dipped to 1.9 million from 2.3 million in 2018.

This represents a fall of 18 percent. 1.5 million tourists arrived on the basis of pleasure, while 70,000 traveled on the basis of business, and 251,000 travelled for other purposes.

These figures were made public in the Tourism Ministry Annual Performance Report and Accounts submitted to Parliament recently.

The room occupancy rate dipped from 70% to 57% levels in 2019. The sector is directly estimated to employ 173,592 people and to generate 225,273 positions of indirect employment.

Tourism revenue is estimated to be US$ 3.6 billion in 2019 which is lower than the US$ 4.3 billion in 2018 and the US$ 3.9 billion in 2017.

Indians remained the dominant group to travel to Sri Lanka making up 355,000 travellers followed by the UK, China, and Germany with 198,000, 167,863, and 134,899 respectively.

The only increase in travellers was from the Russian market which saw travel grow from 64,497 in 2018 to 86,549 in 2019.

The Ministry received an allocation of Rs 408 million from the budget for the development of 5 initiatives.

The allocation was subsequently revised to Rs 318 million of which Rs 189 million was spent. Rs 43.66 million was allocated to train 2,500 unemployed youth for the hospitality sector with a curriculum developed by the Sri Lanka Institute of Tourism and Hotel Management. 2022 youths were trained in restaurant and bar service management, 365 in housekeeping, and 168 in front office management. 2332 youth were issued certification. The Ministry had a wage bill of Rs 131 million and has property and plant valued on the books at Rs 407 million.

The ministry aimed to increase tourist stays from 7 to 12 days.

The KPIs show that tourists stay remained at the 10-day mark. Foreign investment measured at the approvals stage into the sector increased from US$ 2.9 billion in 2018 to US$ 3.7 billion in 2019.