Tourism is the third largest foreign exchange earner in Sri Lanka. It is also one of the fastest growing sectors in Asia. Many emerging businesses are looking forward to the advantages the developing tourism would bring to the country. According to the Central Bank of Sri Lanka, the country’s tourism sector has been on a steady rise over the past couple of years. Tourism contributed both direct and indirect employment for the locals, reducing the unemployment rate gradually. In 2018 tourism contributed to 5.6% of the nation’s GDP ($4.4 bn). This reduced drastically to 0.8% in 2020.
Challenges in the past 2 years
After the 2019 Easter Attacks Sri Lanka’s tourism was challenged due to security concerns. It was recovering slowly. However, with the emergence of Covid-19 in 2020 tourism was suddenly put to halt. There are lockdowns, airport shutdowns, travel restrictions and vaccination practices making it difficult to conduct proper business. Then came the large blow of the Ukraine – Russia war creating another hole for tourism. In the meantime, a political and social crisis emerged in 2022 with a line of protests and public campaigns. This was fueled by the ongoing energy crisis, power cuts and hyperinflation which pressurised the civilians even further. All these problems pose threats to the revival of tourism.
In order to revive the industry Sri Lanka has come up with “Bio-Bubble” which was praised throughout world; ‘Best place to visit in 2020’ by CNN, ‘Top Destination to Travel’ by Condé Nast Traveller in 2020 and Sri Lanka recommended as one of the best places to travel in 2020 by The Times, UK and in London the nation won “Back on the Map” award. It was not a smooth journey because even a few months later Sri Lanka had to go into another lockdown.
We are steadily recovering!
The government is encouraging the businesses to operate. Local travellers are now slowly travelling around the country after a long time. To recover the foreign reserves and solve the foreign exchange woes tourists must come and support the local industry. Despite the crisis Sri Lanka was, is and will always be the beautiful tropical island in South Asia. The nation has much to offer for the curious minds. There are travel packages, offers and deals offered by many hotels and governments. Check out your favourite destinations and plan your delayed travel plan now!