SL exploring ways to adopt India’s cross-border digital payment systems to attract more of their tourists
Posted on February 5th, 2023

By Nishel Fernando Courtesy The Daily Mirror

Eyeing to welcome 250,000 Indian tourists this year, Sri Lanka is exploring the possibility of adopting India’s home-grown cross-border digital payment systems as part of the country’s strategy to lure in more Indian tourists by enabling a cashless travel experience.

In an interview with an Indian news agency last weekend, Sri Lanka High Commissioner to India Milinda Moragoda revealed that enabling payments using RuPay card and RuPay mechanism is being considered as a part of the country’s tourism strategy.
They are even looking at the possibility of using the RuPay card and RuPay mechanism. So, that tourists coming to Sri Lanka would find it easier, that is also part of our tourism strategy” he said.

Speaking to Mirror Business, Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) Chairman Priantha Fernando noted that it would be up to the Central Bank to make a decision on accepting payments using RuPay cards and the payment mechanism.
A growing number of countries have adopted the RuPay card and the Unified Payments Interface (UPI) payment system through partnerships. RuPay currently dominates India’s debit card market while competing with global payment card giants in the credit card sector.

Last year, India accounted for 17 percent of the tourist arrivals to Sri Lanka as the single largest source market. For this year, Fernando shared that SLTDA is expecting to 250,000 tourists from India, up from 123,004 arrivals recorded in 2022, as the country targets 1.55 million tourist arrivals for the year.
He noted that several roadshows and promotional activities have been planned to promote the destination among Indian travellers. In addition, the Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI) convention with a participation of 750 delegates is also scheduled to be held this year.

Commenting on the anticipated tourist arrivals for this year, Fernando was confident of exceeding the 1.55 million tourist arrivals target in particular with the re-opening of the Chinese market towards mid-March and the pick-up in tourist arrivals from Europe.
In January, tourist arrivals jumped by nearly 25 percent YoY to 102,000 almost reaching 105,000 arrival target set for the month.

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