Indians topped Sri Lanka’s tourist arrivals in 2021

Tourists from India dominated Sri Lanka’s tourism market last year, contributing almost 23 percent of the total 194,000 tourists who visited the island country in 2021

Jan 04, 2022
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Sri Lanka tourism (Photo: Curly Tales)

Tourists from India dominated Sri Lanka’s tourism market last year, contributing almost 23 percent of the total 194,000 tourists who visited the island country in 2021. Almost 70 percent of the total tourists visited Sri Lanka in the last two months of November and December.

Earlier in 2021, Sri Lanka and India signed an air bubble agreement to revive Sri Lanka’s tourism, one of the country’s most important economic sectors [ read more]. As a result, Sri Lanka received around 56,000 tourists from India. Russia and Britain followed India, both contributing close 17,000, roughly 8 percent of the total tourists.

Germany, Ukraine, and France were other major source markets for the country.

Prior to the pandemic, the industry was contributing close to $4 billion annually. By October 2021, Sri Lanka earned just around $82 million through tourism. The prolonged second wave, and strict border control measures hampered the recovery of the sector.

Of the total of around 194,000 tourists, around 90,000 tourists arrived in Sri Lanka in December.

Similarly in the Maldives, another Indian Ocean country, heavily dependent on tourism, India contributed significantly in reviving the growth and accounted for almost 20 percent of total tourists’ arrival in 2021. [read more]

The archipelago received close to 1.3 million visitors in 2021—roughly 75 percent of the pre-pandemic level. In 2019, the Maldives received around 1.7 million visitors. In 2020, the year when the pandemic began, it received just 500,000 tourists. The Maldives was one of the first countries to sign an air bubble agreement with India in 2020.

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