On 27 March 2019, the Daily News reported Minister of Tourism Development, Wildlife and Christian Religious Affairs John Amaratunga making the following claims:
- When he took office in 2015, there were only 1.5 million tourists arriving in the country, while in 2018, it increased to 2.3 million.
- When he took over office, tourism revenue was USD 2.5 billion. By 2018 it reached USD 4.3 billion.
In order to fact check the minister’s claims, we consulted the Tourism Growth Trends – 1970 to 2018 report by the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA), which showed the following.
On the first claim: Tourist arrivals increased from 1,527,153 in 2014 (the year prior to the minister coming into office) to 2,333,796 in 2018. Statistical bulletins by the SLTDA confirm these statistics.
On the second claim: Tourism revenue increased from USD 2,431.1 million in 2014 to USD 4,380.6 million in 2018. External Sector Performance Reports from 2015 and 2018 by the Central Bank of Sri Lanka confirm these statistics.
The data aligns with both claims made by the minister.
Therefore, we classify the minister’s claims as TRUE.
- Tourism Growth Trends – 1970 to 2018, available at: http://www.sltda.gov.lk/sites/default/files/tourism-growth-and-trends-1970-2018.pdf
- External Sector Performance Reports from December 2015, p. 8, available at: https://www.cbsl.gov.lk/sites/default/files/cbslweb_documents/press/pr/press_20160304_External_Sector_Performance_December_2015_e.pdf
- External Sector Performance Reports from December 2018, p. 2, available at: https://www.cbsl.gov.lk/sites/default/files/cbslweb_documents/press/pr/press_20190313_external_sector_performance_december_2018_e.pdf
- Monthly Tourist Arrivals Reports 2018, available at: http://www.sltda.lk/node/757
- Monthly Tourist Arrivals Reports 2015, available at: http://www.sltda.lk/node/704