Tourist arrivals to Sri Lanka set to exceed 100,000 mark in May 2024

European tourists in Sri Lanka

Tourist arrivals to Sri Lanka are expected to surpass 100,000 in May 2024, though they will fall short of the target range of 120,934 to 131,112.

Provisional data from the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) show a moderate growth, with 79,431 arrivals recorded in the first three weeks of the month (May 1 to May 21), compared to 83,309 in May 2023.

The average daily arrival rate is about 3,782, a decrease from the 5,000 daily average seen in previous months. Tourist numbers typically decline from April until the summer season due to it being an off-peak period. Additionally, a visa issue may have contributed to the decrease this month, according to authorities.

India is the largest source of tourist traffic, accounting for 26 percent of total arrivals. The Maldives ranks second with 11 percent. Russia, previously in the top two, has fallen to seventh place so far this month.

Industry stakeholders attribute this drop to Russian charter flights choosing other destinations due to increased hotel room rates and landing charges at Mattala International Airport.

Germany has risen to third place, making up 8 percent of total arrivals, followed by the United Kingdom at 7 percent. China, now among the top five markets, contributes 6 percent of the total arrivals, ranking fifth for May so far.