The Sri Lankan government has declared 2022 as the “Visit Sri Lanka Year” in line with its integrated five-year Global Communication Campaign, aiming to attract 6 million tourists and US$10 billion in earnings by 2025. The Sri Lanka Export Development Board (EDB) has identified the health and wellness tourism sector as a key focus in terms of foreign exchange earnings and as an important sector in the country’s National Export Strategy.
Sri Lanka has a strong tourist infrastructure and widespread network of Western and Ayurveda medical treatment centres, well regulated by the government.
Wellness tourism in Sri Lanka remains a nascent industry, focused on traditional medicine. There is a small amount of medical tourism. Sector growth is private sector-led. A few hospitals and clinics are in medical tourism, mainly for diagnostics, dental treatment and cardiac surgery.
In 2021, Sri Lanka had just 150,000 tourist arrivals. Despite being hard hit by the pandemic over the past two years, Sri Lanka has been returning to normal.
The European Union and the United Nations Development Programme in Sri Lanka are also offering support through the ‘Transforming Tourism in Sri Lanka: Emerging from Crisis as a Strong, Resurgent and Rebranded Industry’ project. An outcome of this initiative will be to strengthen the tourism policy framework and institutional capacity at national level, and provide policy direction to rebuild, recover and trigger transformational change for more sustainable and inclusive tourism in the island.