Sri Lanka will welcome its 950,000th tourist today, 13 days before the year-end – the scheduled date to reach this target as mentioned in the Five-Year Strategic Plan of Sri Lanka Tourism.
A passenger will be picked from the charter flight arriving at approximately 8:25 a.m. at the Bandaranaike International Airport Katunayake as the 950,000th tourist by Sri Lanka Tourism. All attention was on the industry last month to ascertain whether it could reach the initial target of 950,000 or exceed it and achieve one million by the year-end, in the backdrop of the drop in occupancy in November and the slowing down of the growth rate compared to 2011.
The last available data for tourist arrivals was for October 2012, with 80,379 tourists arriving, bringing the total arrivals for the first 10 month to 774,151.
Sri Lanka reached its 2011 target of 800,000 tourists last year on 19 December. The industry maintained momentum since the war ended in 2009 to reach a total of 855,975 tourists last year – a record-breaking figure in the history of Sri Lanka tourism. The expectation now is to aim for the milestone one million mark by 31 December.