Tourism earnings up 2.3% Jan-Nov

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By 2018-01-21

By Mario Andree

Tourism earnings during the first eleven months of 2017, including November, reflected almost the same trend as arrivals to the country. According to the Central Bank, tourism earnings in November increased 0.2 per cent, while the overall earnings during the eleven months increased 2.3 per cent.

Tourism earnings during November last year increased 0.2 per cent to US$ 287.4 million from US$ 286.9 million during the same month of 2016, while the earnings during the first eleven months increased 2.3 per cent to US$ 3.2 billion from US$ 3.1 billion a year ago.

The Sri Lankan Government hoped to welcome more than 2.5 million arrivals last year, and later revised this expectation to 2.2 million, while anticipating more than US$ 4 billion foreign exchange earnings.
However, this ambitious target was missed by more than 380,000 visitors for the original target and 80,000 visitors for the revised target. The current growth rate of tourism earnings indicated that the earnings target would also be missed by nearly US$ 400 million.

Minister of Tourism and Christian Affairs John Amaratunga blamed the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau for its failure to achieve set targets,......citing that the promotional arm of the Tourism Ministry was neglecting their duty of carrying out the planned 'Mega Tourism Promotional Campaign'.
Recently, he requested the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB) Chairman Udaya Nanayakkara to step down from his position to make space for a new head. However, Nanayakkara, who slammed the request as a 'badly-written joke', has not tendered his resignation, but has not been to the office since.

The Government hopes to welcome more than 4 million tourists by 2020, with expected earnings of more than US$ 5 billion.
Mid-2017, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe outlining the 'Tourism Master Plan' said that the country hopes to attract more than 5 million visitors and the Government had already earmarked more than 5,000 acres for hospitality projects.
The Prime Minister's Office and the Ministry of Tourism are currently working on promoting the destination, as well as launching the US$ 21 million 'Mega Tourism Promotional Campaign', for which the Cabinet approved the finalization of a Digital Advertising Agency.

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