Income Generation from Ticket Sales in Museums

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The tourism industry in Sri Lanka presents a myriad of economic benefits ranging from income generation to the creation of employment for the local people. Income is generated from different sources and varying tourist activities undertaken across the country. The assessment of various indicators provides an understanding of the potential benefits that the industry presents to the economic well-being of the nation and its residents. While the individuals might benefit directly through the employment, the economy benefits through the spending and development of facilities seeking to cater for the growing demand for tourism activities as a result of increased arrivals in the country.

Foreign exchange earning

Table 1tourism as a foreign exchange earner

Note: SLTDA 2016 Annual Report

Tourism makes a significant contribution to the economy of Sri Lanka as one of the primary earners of foreign exchange to the country. In both 2016 and 2015, the industry was ranked third among the top 10 foreign exchange earners for the island nation. When compared to the rest of the sectors listed among the top earners, it remains the single industry which posted the largest positive growth regarding the contribution it makes. Many of the other sectors, except the workers’ remittances, experienced a drop in the percentage contributions. Tourism has a high potential since it grew with almost 2 percent in the foreign exchange contribution that it makes to the economy of Sri Lanka.

Creation of employment

Table 2 Employment within the tourism industry

Note: SLTDA 2016 Annual Report

Tourism remains a crucial source of jobs for many people in Sri Lanka. The industry, in general, provides a broad range of jobs ranging from managerial positions to operative work, which is mainly manual. Hotels and restaurants, and the tour operator and travel agents are the leading organizations that provide much of the employment within the industry. The number of organizations registered in this segment has continued to grow for the years between 2014 and 2016 and so has been the employment opportunities created. With the increase in the number of establishments operating within the industry, more employment opportunities are created. The information contained in the above table indicates that each of the significant employment category identified has had an increase in the number of people working in the tourism industry. This positive growth in the employment creates substantial value for the tourism as contributing to the enhancing the economic well-being of the local population by employing different professionals.

Tourist inflow in Sri Lanka

According to the table showing the number of airlines connecting the nation, it is found that around 1.36 lakhs tourists visit the country in winter and almost 1.30 lakhs tourists arrive in summer, The close number of passengers coming in to the island nation corroborates the fact that Sri Lanka enjoys a plethora of tourists irrespective of the seasons. Moreover, according to the Chart 11, it is observed that the number of tourists vising Sri Lanka has increased several times over the last decade. The constant inflow of the tourists all over the year indicates that revenue generated through the tourism industry plays a significant role in determining the revenue generation of the country. Additionally, Table 11 displays the number of tourist coming in Sri Lanka, which can lead to the assumption that tourism industry is one of the major source of income from the tourists coming in to Sri Lanka.




Middle East

Eastern Europe

Western Europe

Latin America

North America



















Note: SLTDA 2016 Annual Report

Moreover, looking at the various aspect of the visitors’ data, the average duration of stay and the region, which tops the chart, can be found out. According to the table, we can see that the nation is most visited by people from the North America, and gets substantial footfalls from the Western Europe and Australasia as well. The average duration of stay most preferred is between 8-14 years, but 5% of the travelers stay well beyond 31 days even.

According to the figures provided, the purpose of these tourists are found mostly to be for pleasure or holiday and accounts for more than 90%. Other than holidaying in Sri Lanka, the travelers visit the island nation for families and friends, followed by other reasons like health, sports, religion, education and business, among others. The travelers are mostly from the Western European countries if they visit the country for holidaying, whereas South Asian travelers are more frequent for business traveling. The Western European region are also the top travelers in the country for family and friend, and is followed by North American and South Asian countries.

Income Generation for the Country

Table 3 income generation from ticket sales in museums

Note: SLTDA 2016 Annual Report

Tourists visiting the country both international and local make payment for the services which they use. The details of tickets sales for the museums within the nation indicate how important these museums are in terms of generating income towards sustaining the economy. Except for the Kandy National museum whose details are not available for the number of tickets and revenue generated from the ticket sales, each of the other museums has made a significant contribution through the purchases of tickets which produces a considerable profit.

Table 4 Public Sector Revenue from Tourism (In Rs. million) 2012-2016

Note: SLTDA 2016 Annual Report

The public sector has different sources of money which can be directly linked to tourism activities as a result of various levies and taxation charged for operations. These levies are sources of income to the public sector, and they have continued to grow for five consecutive years. Although there are slight changes in some of the revenue sources experiencing drops in certain years, the total collection from all the souse combined has continued to grow. This could be considered as the contribution made by the tourism inducts in general to the public sector revenue. The leading sources of public income within the tourism industry are the cultural triangle and embarkation tax on foreign tourists.

Table 5 Sri Lanka tourism receipts: 2008-2016

Note: SLTDA 2016 Annual Report

One of the significant sources of income generated from the tourism industry in Sri Lanka remains the foreign visitors who come to the country. The individuals can spend a varying amount of money in different locations and purposes which become part of the income gained from these activities. The table above provides information on the number of tourists received in Sri Lanka between the years of 2008 and 2016 and the corresponding amount of income regarding the USD generated from those activities. Except for the years 2009 which recorded a drop in the revenue, there has been continued growth in the income generated from tourism activities in the country for those years. In the more recent years, the rate of growth seems to be increasing, and this is a positive indication of the high potential for increased income that can be generated from tourism activities.


The tourism activities are undertaken in Sri Lanka generate income for the country and create employment for the local citizens at different professional levels. The paper analyzes the traveler behavior according to the type of visit, originating region, purpose of visit, and age distribution among others and tries to find a relation between the tourism industry and the overall revenue generation from the sector. Without these activities, the economy would experience a drop as tourism is one of the leading foreign exchange earners and employs a significant number of people in the country. The economy is also able to generate public revenue from levies and other charges applied to the tourism industry, which remains highly beneficial to the economy.


Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority. (2016). Annual Statistical Report 2016. Colombo.

January 19, 2024
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