Sri Lanka eyes record international tourist arrivals from India in 2024

Sri Lanka Tourism is targeting 600,000 Indian tourist arrivals in 2024, aiming for best-ever figures from its number one inbound tourism source market.

Last year, Sri Lanka recorded 302,844 tourist arrivals from India, which was more than double compared to 123,004 tourist arrivals recorded in 2022. So far, the best year for Sri Lanka Tourism in the Indian market was in 2018 when it recorded 424,887 tourist arrivals.

Sri Lanka Tourism will launch a major promotional campaign in the Indian market in order to attract more Indian tourists to Sri Lanka; Colombo, Sri Lanka, pictured

In order to meet its target, the NTO is launching a major promotional campaign in the Indian market starting mid-April. It also organised two city roadshows for Indian travel consultants covering Mumbai and New Delhi earlier this month. Also in the pipeline are a couple of roadshows that will be organised in tier-II Indian cities later this year.

“We have bounced back strongly post the setbacks caused by the pandemic and the economic crisis. In the recent past, our campaigns have focused on confidence building that we as a country are ready and secure to welcome tourists. However, in our new campaign beginning April, our focus is going to be on showing the diversity of Sri Lanka as a destination,” said Nalin Perera, managing director, Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau while speaking to TTG Asia on the sidelines of New Delhi roadshow on Tuesday.

“We are traditionally known for sun and beach but we have much more, be it culture, religion, culinary, adventure, wildlife and more.”

Perera shared that the 360-degree communication campaign will be covering digital, print and TV platforms with a ‘substantial’ investment.

“Considering strong demand from the Indian market, we are going to embark on an aggressive promotional campaign in India. The campaign is also going to focus on regional reach within the country,” he added.

The new year has already begun on a high note for the Sri Lankan tourism industry’s prospects in India. In January 2024, the number of Indian tourists visiting Sri Lanka increased by over 100 per cent, rising from 13,759 in January 2023 to 34,399.

Some of the segments that Sri Lanka is focusing on in India include FITs, families, wedding and MICE. In order to promote the destination for Indian film shoots, Sri Lanka is planning to introduce a single window clearance system by the first financial quarter of 2024.

“Presently, production houses have to visit many places to get approvals for shootings. In the single window concept, they will only need to work with Sri Lanka tourism to obtain all required approvals. This we expect will reduce the approval timelines by 50 per cent,” noted Perera.

Overall, Sri Lanka recorded 1.5 million international tourist arrivals in 2023 and is targeting 2.3 million international tourist arrivals in 2024.

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