Impact of the tourism boom spread to the other sectors
Impact of the tourism boom enjoyed by the country after the end of the conflict had spread to the other sectors resulting big increase in the production and the services. Internal conflict that prevailed in the country for 30 years was ended in May 2009 and tourist arrivals increased unprecedently since then. As compared to the 438,475 tourist arrivals in 2008, an increase of 95.2% was recorded in 2011 increasing the total arrivals to 855,975. Official receipts from tourism increased from Rs 37094 mn in 2008 to Rs 91926 mn, in 2011 recording 147.91 percent increase. In foreign exchange term that amounted to US$ 319.5 mn in 2008 and US$ 838.9 mn in 2011 , an increase of 162.56 of percent. In 2008 receipt per tourist per day was US$ 76.7 and it has been increased to US$ 98 in 2012. Hotel occupancy rate of the country increased to 77.1 2011 from 57.1 in 2008.
Hon. Basil Rajapaksa Minister of Economic Development introduced the Tourism Development Strategy of Sri Lanka in order to facilitate the big boom in the industry and cater to the growing demand for various services. Ministry of economic Development provided various incentives for the short term and long term investment in the production and services related to the industry.
This boom in the tourist sector has resulted a big increase in the production and services of other economic sectors. Total number of foreign visitors to the museums increased to 31096 in 2011 from 7353 in 2008 and revenue from sale of tickets to them increased from Rs. 4.1 mn in 2008 to Rs. 14.2 mn in 2011. Biggest gainer was the Cultural Triangle. Number of foreign visitors to the Cultural triangle increased from 1,12190 in 2008 to 2,39920 in 2011 increasing the revenue from them from Rs. 307.5 mn in 2008 to Rs. 998.3 mn. in 2011 recording an increase of more than three fold. Foreign visitors to the zoological gardens increased to 284898 in 2011 from 153934 in 2008 bringing Rs 470.2 mn income in 2011 as compared to the Rs 114mn income it received in 2008.
Income of the wild life parks increased to Rs 301 mn in 2011 from Rs 84 mn in 2008. Botanical gardens’ revenue from foreign visitors increased to 253 mn in 2011 from Rs 69 mn in 2008.
Government revenue also increased as a result of increased tourist arrivals. Tourism development levy increased from Rs 405.2 mn in 2009 to Rs 649 mn in 2011 while tourism Development Authority income increased to Rs 110.1 mn from Rs 48.9 mn in 2008.
Embarkation tax of the Katunayaka Airport increased to Rs. 104 mn in 2011 from Rs 766 mn in 2011. In 2008, 5469 visitors came by charter carriers and it increased to 15123 passengers in 2011 allowing more services other than regular services.
Other than these sectors big growth was recorded in the handy craft, handloom and cottage industries and demand for local vegetable, fruits and fish products from hotel sector has increased tremendously. Local cultural and aesthetic activities aimed at tourists also have increased.