Sri Lanka’s tourism earnings pass 2 billion USD in 2017

Sri Lanka tourism - Elephants

(Photo by Tom Paisley on Unsplash)

Sri Lanka has earned over 2 billion U.S. dollars from tourism this year with steady growth in numbers, the country’s Central Bank said here on Thursday.

Earnings from tourism increased to 2,086 million dollars during the first seven months of the year, compared to 2,013.5 million dollars during the same period in 2016, latest data showed.

Sri Lanka’s government this week said it aims to double the number of tourists to 5 million by 2020 as part of a new tourist strategy to boost revenue to the south Asian island.

Sri Lanka’s tourism industry boomed after the end of civil war in 2009 with arrivals growing to a record 2.05 million at the end of 2016. This year the country has targeted an ambitious 2.5 million tourists.

According to data released by the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority, cumulative arrivals of tourists in the first eight months rose 3.5 percent to over 1.4 million compared to 1.3 million in the same period last year.

India continues to lead arrival figures with 233,120 followed by China with 189,696, Britain with 141,378, Germany with 89,459 and France with 73,081.

Tourism accounts for close to 5 percent of Sri Lanka’s economy. In the first six months of 2017, Sri Lanka earned 1.7 billion dollars from tourism.