Tourist arrivals to Sri Lanka grew 11.6 percent year-on-year (YoY) to 136,367 in April 2016, with the continued expansion of the Chinese market, Sri Lanka Tourism data showed. While the growth from the Indian and Chinese markets have contributed to a significant reduction in seasonality in recent years, this April still saw hotels selling heavily discounted rooms to locals, as the arrivals went down from 192,841 in March. South Asia was the largest regional market, growing 13.4 percent YoY to 37,312 tourists. Indian arrivals increased 12.3 percent YoY to 25,890 tourists, while the Maldivian arrivals increased 14.5 percent YoY to 6,706. Pakistani arrivals fell 18.1 percent YoY to 2,260 tourists.
Western Europe was the second largest regional market, growing 12.2 percent YoY to 39,243 arrivals. The UK market grew 6.9 percent YoY to 12,006 tourists, while the German tourist arrivals grew 25.6 percent YoY to 8,065.
The French market grew 17.7 percent YoY to 7,518 tourists. The Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau’s latest promotional efforts in Benelux (Belgium, Netherlands and Luxembourg) displayed mixed results, as Dutch arrivals grew 41.5 percent YoY to 2,496, while Belgian arrivals declined 32.2 percent YoY to 675 and tourist arrivals from Luxembourg failed to register. East Asia took up the third spot in regional arrivals, growing 22.6 percent YoY to 29,786 arrivals. Chinese arrivals surged 37.6 percent YoY to 18,972 tourists, while arrivals from Japan grew by 25.9 percent YoY to 3,172 tourists and the Indonesian market fell by 25 percent YoY to 1,581 tourists. Eastern European arrivals declined by 3.3 percent YoY to 11.285 tourists.
The Russian market fell by 28.4 percent YoY to 4,081 tourists due to low oil prices and sanctions, while Sri Lanka failed to capture a spot as an alternative to the now shunned Russian favourite Sharm el-Sheik. Ukrainian arrivals increased 76.1 percent YoY to 2,338 tourists. Arrivals from North America grew just 3.4 percent YoY to 6,370 tourists despite some hype created by several US media outlets, while arrivals from the Middle East grew 5.8 percent YoY to 5,803 tourists and tourist levels from Australasia marginally fell by 0.4 percent YoY to 5,305.
Tourist arrivals for the first four months of 2016 grew 20 percent YoY to 721,185 tourists. Indian arrivals grew by 27 percent YoY to 111,514 tourists, Chinese arrivals by 44.8 percent YoY to 96,886 tourists and British arrivals by 22.9 percent YoY to 68,883 tourists. The German and French markets grew by 14.1 percent and 12.8 percent to 51,515 and 41,1 73, respectively, while the Russian market fell 12.2 percent YoY to 25,313 tourists.