Sri Lanka is a small country, but is teeming with such a rich culture, gorgeous natural landmarks, and many
fun things to do.
It’s a backpacker-friendly destination and a true paradise for all the adventure seekers out there.
From the historical sites
in Anuradhapura to the stunning beaches lining Trincomalee, there’s a lot to explore here. But how many people actually come to this South Asian country? How much does tourism contribute to their GDP?
Whether you’re planning a trip there or just wanting to understand more about its travel market, we’ve compiled a list of the most important and relevant statistics on Sri Lanka tourism.
Without further ado, let’s get started!
Sources : The source for each statistic is listed right below it, or you can head to the bottom of this post for all the references used. What is the tourism growth rate in Sri Lanka?
The latest data in August 2023 shows that international tourist arrivals in Sri Lanka has increased 261.2% year-on-year compared to August 2022.
How many tourists visit Sri Lanka in 2023?
In April 2023, there were 105,498 monthly tourist arrivals in Sri Lanka. This was a 67.5% year-on-year increase from April 2022, when Sri Lanka saw only 62,980 tourist arrivals.
Is tourism increasing in Sri Lanka?
Compared to 2022, tourism is overall increasing in Sri Lanka, with the number of foreign arrivals growing 261.2% year-on-year in August 2023.
However, compared to pre-pandemic levels, overall tourism has yet to properly recover due to a number of factors.
What country visits Sri Lanka most?
India contributes the highest number of tourists to Sri Lanka, with 123 thousand arrivals in 2022, or 17.1% of all tourist arrivals.
Sri Lanka travel statistics at a glance In 2022, there were a total number of 719,978 tourist arrivals in Sri Lanka. The ratio of outbound trips to household in Sri Lanka was projected to grow from 29.4% in 2016 to 38.8% in 2021. In 2019, travel and tourism revenue contributed 12.6% of the total GDP in Sri Lanka, growing from just 6% in 2000. In 2022, tourism revenue in Sri Lanka amounted to US$ 1,136 million. As of 2022, there were a total of 190,521 people directly employed in the Sri Lankan travel and tourism industry. The top travel destination for tourists from Sri Lanka is India. Vice versa, India contributed the highest number of tourists to Sri Lanka, with 123 thousand arrivals in 2022, or 17.1% of all arrivals. SLTDA recorded 3,829 total establishments in Sri Lanka in 2022, an increase from the 2,620 establishments in 2019. According to Forbes, Sri Lanka ranks as the top wildlife safari outside of Africa. Inbound tourism in Sri Lanka How many tourists arrive in Sri Lanka each year? 1. In 2022, there were a total number of 719,978 tourist arrivals in Sri Lanka.
2. This was a significant increase from the 194,495 annual tourist arrivals in Sri Lanka in 2022, but still yet to recover to the pre-pandemic levels of 1,913,702 tourist arrivals in 2019.
The number of tourist arrivals in Sri Lanka has not recovered to its pre-pandemic figure of
1,913,702 in 2019. 3. In 2022, international tourist arrivals to Sri Lanka recovered 31% of pre pandemic levels (2018).
4. The number of tourists arriving in September was the lowest at 29,802, while the busiest month for Sri Lankan tourism in 2022 was March (106,500 arrivals).
5. In April 2023, there were 105,498 monthly tourist arrivals in Sri Lanka.
This was a 67.5% year-on-year increase from April 2022, when Sri Lanka saw only 62,980 tourist arrivals.
The latest figure equals to 58% of the pre-pandemic levels in 2018.
6. The latest data in August 2023 shows that international tourist arrivals in Sri Lanka has increased 261.2% year-on-year compared to August 2022.
Sri Lanka outbound tourism Where do Sri Lankans travel to the most? 7. Outbound travelers from Sri Lanka was forecasted to hit two million trips in 2021, an increase from the 1.5 million recorded in 2016.
8. The ratio of outbound trips to household in Sri Lanka was projected to grow from 29.4% in 2016 to 38.8% in 2021.
9. According to GlobalData, the top travel destination for tourists from Sri Lanka is India.
After India, the next most popular destinations for Sri Lankan travelling overseas are Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, and Nepal.
The economy of travel & tourism in Sri Lanka How much does travel and tourism contribute to Sri Lanka GDP? 10. In 2019, travel and tourism revenue contributed 12.6% of the total GDP in Sri Lanka, growing from just 6% in 2000.
11. In 2022, tourism revenue in Sri Lanka amounted to US$ 1,136 million.
12. Tourism revenue in Sri Lanka hasn’t yet recovered to its all-time-high of US$ 4,380 million in 2018.
But it’s still a significant increase from the US$ 506 million of revenue recorded in 2021.
13. A tourist in Sri Lanka spends an average of $164.4 per day in 2022.
14. As of 2022, there were a total of 190,521 people directly employed in the Sri Lankan travel and tourism industry.
Meanwhile, the number was 195,715 indirect employment in the travel and tourism industry in Sri Lanka in 2022.
Sri Lanka tourism demographics What country visits Sri Lanka most? 15. The region that is the largest source of tourists to Sri Lanka is Europe, making up 60.03% of all its international tourists in 2022.
tourist arrivals from Europe hit 42.5% of its pre-pandemic levels. 16. The Asia and Pacific region recorded 213,537 tourists arrivals in 2022, comprising 29.66% of all arrivals.
tourists from the Americas make up 7.1% of all foreign visitors to Sri Lanka in 2022. 17. In terms of country, India contributed the highest number of tourists to Sri Lanka, with 123 thousand arrivals in 2022, or 17.1% of all arrivals.
18. In August 2023, India remains the largest source of international tourists in Sri Lanka, with 22.4% of market share.
19. The top five international tourist markets in Sri Lanka are rounded up by the United Kingdom, China, Germany, and France in August 2023.
British tourists made up
11% of all arrivals in Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka travel behavior How do most people travel in Sri Lanka? 20. The average length of stay for tourists in Sri Lanka in 2022 was 9.34 nights.
21. The majority of tourists from India (56%), Russia (69.3%), Germany (68.8%), France (69.3%), and Poland (92.1%) visited Sri Lanka for vacation.
69.3% of tourists from France say that their main purpose for visiting Sri Lanka is for leisure. 22. The majority of tourists from Canada (75%) and Australia (62.4%) come to Sri Lanka to visit friends and relatives.
This reflects the significant amount of Sri Lankan diaspora living in Canada and Australia.
23. 16.3% of tourists from India visits Sri Lanka for business.
Out of all visitors to Sri Lanka,
16.3% come for business purposes. 24. A recent analysis shows that the most popular final departure port to Sri Lanka for international arrivals is Dubai (20.4%).
Other common last ports are Doha, Chennai, London and Singapore, with 17.5%, 10.4%, 6.2%
& and 3.5% respectively.
25. The most popular carriers for arrivals to Sri Lanka are Sri Lankan Airlines, Quarter Airways, and Emirates. Together, they handle a combined total of 65.4% of all tourist arrivals in the country.
Hotels and accommodation statistics in Sri Lanka How many hotels are there in Sri Lanka? 26. SLTDA recorded 3,829 total establishments in Sri Lanka in 2022, an increase from the 2,620 establishments in 2019.
27. Guest houses make up the highest number of accommodation type in Sri Lanka, with 1,380 establishments.
Homestay units follow closely behind at 1,009 and bungalows at 857.
28. As of 2022, there are 156 classified tourist hotels in Sri Lanka, with 37 five-star hotels and 37 four-star hotels.
Out of the
156 classified tourist hotels in Sri Lanka, 37 are rated as five-stars. 29. In 2022, there were around 26,162 registered Airbnb listings in Sri Lanka.
Not all of them are registered as a tourist accommodation service provider, hence the discrepancy in number.
30. Among those, 16,135 are private room listings while 9,332 are entire homes/ apartments.
The majority (61.7%) of Airbnb listings in Sri Lanka are private rooms. 31. The average nightly rate for an Airbnb in Sri Lanka is $74, while the average occupancy rate is 24%.
32. As of September 2023, there are a total of 10,023 properties in Sri Lanka that are listed on Booking.com.
Booking.com is the biggest online booking platform for travel accommodation, and as of September 2023, the website records
10,023 properties in Sri Lanka. Tourist activities and destinations in Sri Lanka What are the top tourist destinations in Sri Lanka? 33. In 2018, the town of Ella in Sri Lanka welcomed 210 thousand visitors, a notable increase from 42.8 thousand annual visitors in 2008.
Ella is a popular town for tourists visiting Sri Lanka as it has plenty of activities and attractions. 34. Ella has experienced a significant growth of tourist arrivals since 2008, with the average annual growth rate being 26% from 2012 to 2018.
35. By 2030, tourist volume in Ella is forecasted to reach 2.4 million.
36. Over 55 % (around 0.5 million) of tourists who visit Kandy are backpackers.
More than half (55%) of tourists in Kandy, Sri Lanka, are backpackers. 37. Among all visitors to Kandy, the majority (78.1%) is in the 21-35 age group.
38. According to the the Project Manager of Central Cultural Fund Sigiriya, Sigiriya welcomes 600 local tourists and 900 international tourists every day.
39. On weekends, Sigiriya receives on average 2500 local tourist, most of which are from the Northern and Eastern areas of the country.
40. Every year, there are 950,000 local tourist arrivals and 135,000 foreign tourist are about in Nuwara Eliya.
Another popular town for tourists in Sri Lanka is
Nuwara Eliya, which has many interesting things to do and attractions to see.
Interestingly, the town itself is not listed among the top 20 most populated cities in Sri Lanka, with just over 25 thousand residents in 2023.
41. Instead, the most populated Sri Lankan city is Colombo, followed by Dehiwala-Mount Lavinia, Moratuwa, and Jaffna.
[World Population Review]
Colombo is home to 648,034 residents.
42. Camping has been slowly gaining traction in Sri Lanka, with 11.91 million campers in 2017 increasing to 15.52 million in 2022. This figure is expected to reach 48.22 million by 2027.
The number of tourists engaging in camping activities in Sri Lanka continue to increase, which might indirectly contribute to the
rising popularity of glamping. 43. According to Forbes, Sri Lanka ranks as the top wildlife safari outside of Africa.
This is mainly because of the presence of the Big Five game animals in Sri Lanka and how easy it is to see them in
one safari trip. Summary
All in all, Sri Lanka is a lovely country with an ever-growing tourism industry.
It took a hit during the pandemic, just like the rest of the world, but the statistics reveal that it is beginning to recover.
Have we missed any important aspect of Sri Lankan travel? Let us know in the comments below.
If you’re planning a trip to Sri Lanka, check out this handy
Check out these other statistics: