Sri Lanka crossed the billion dollar milestone in earnings from tourism in October when the country earned US$ 75.6 million from the trade, which is providing a glimmer of hope for the country’s economy beset by acute shortages of foreign currency since the middle of last year.
With October revenues, Sri Lanka recorded US$ 1,022 million in cumulative earnings in the ten months, compared to US$ 158.2 million reported in the corresponding period in 2021.
Tourism in Sri Lanka was looking to become a more than US$ 5.0 billion foreign exchange earning industry before the Easter bombings and the pandemic which nearly decimated the industry for two years.
At its peak in 2018 Sri Lanka earned US$ 4.8 billion from tourism before the momentum slowed the following year due to the Easter attacks and then the COVID-19 pandemic.
Contrary to many interpretations to the effect of cutting taxes and printing money, loss of tourism caused by the pandemic was one of the leading reasons for the present day economic crisis which was exacerbated by the sharp rise in the global commodities prices and the prolonged disruptions to supplies and supply chains both globally and locally.
Global tourism industry is now witnessing a sharp increase due to the pent-up demand created by the Covid pandemic.
Sri Lanka also stands to benefit as November saw total arrivals reaching nearly 52,000 mark for the first time since April. The November arrivals brought the cumulative arrivals in the first eleven months to 620,120.
Sri Lanka saw an average monthly arrivals of over 100,000 tourists in the three months through March before the mass protests erupted against intensifying economic hardships.