TikaWeeks #15/2024: Sri Lanka update

Posted by John on 9th April 2024

Puja (blessing ceremony) at the Temple of the Tooth, Kandy, Sri Lanka (courtesy of Damon Green)

Sri Lanka is on track to return to pre-pandemic levels of tourism as visitor numbers this year soar in comparison to the same period in 2023, with UK visitors leading the way from Europe. The massive increase in tourist arrivals has seen related revenues swell to over US$687 million in the first two months of this year, which is very welcome and crucial income for Sri Lanka. The island has also been the spotlight of travel publications across the globe, including highlighting the unique Pekoe Trail through the spectacular tea country and holistic wellness retreats.

Tourist arrivals to Sri Lanka exceeded 163,000 in the first 24 days of March, following on from more than 200,000 recorded in February including over 10,000 arrivals on a single day, which reinforces the country’s rebound and pushes the year-to-date arrivals to just shy of 590,000. The boost in arrivals was largely influenced by Indian tourists, closely followed by Russian travellers, which together reflect 15% of total arrivals, followed by the UK, Germany and China.

The human-elephant conflict on the island continues an unfortunate upward trend with reports of elephants starving in Udawalawe National Park due to a lack of food caused by illegal cattle grazing. This comes on the back of news reported in TikaWeeks #41/2023 of the increase in elephant deaths attributed to human activities, including an alarming number killed on the railways and roads. On the bright side, there are initiatives underway to reduce unnecessary collisions, such as the construction of wildlife underpasses on well-known elephant ‘corridors’ crossing busy and dangerous transport routes. However, this isn’t exclusively an issue in Sri Lanka as a recent article about elephants being hit by trains in India emphasises.

Categories: News, Sri Lanka, Wildlife

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