Tourism sector poised to surpass $ 2b revenue
The tourism sector is optimistic of surpassing the US $ 2 billion
revenue target by end of 2014, if the present conditions remain stable
and the influx of tourists continues to increase. The Director General
of Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority, Dr. D.S. Jayaweera said that
the steady increase in tourism numbers to reach half a million by end
April (534,132) recording a 27.6% increase over the corresponding period
last year indicates that the industry is poised to surpass US $ 2
billion in earnings this year.
By end April 2014, earnings reached US $ 718.9 million.An estimated
10-12% increase in domestic tourism activity this year, exceeding the
six million listed last year, would add to the victory, in the backdrop
of domestic travel exceeding two million by end March this year.
“We have seen a steady rise in tourist earnings over the years. In
2004, earnings from the tourism industry was US $ 416 million but last
year earnings were healthy at US$ 1.75 billion,” he said.
The tourism industry could contribute a greater amount to the
national economy, as the industry’s foreign inputs are only 10-20%,
compared with 40-60% foreign inputs in the apparel industry.
Dr. Jayaweera said, “Not only international, but even the domestic
tourism market has also grown as more locals are keen on travelling
around the island.”
The public tend to travel mostly during weekends and long holidays,
thanks to the infrastructure of expressways that have come up. “We are
sure to record a number that is far more than six million this year,
which was last year’s number,” he said. Most of this travel takes place
around wildlife parks and beaches.