Slower than usual tourist arrivals from East Asia led by the key Chinese market weighed in on the total arrivals in August to Sri Lanka, but visitors from South Asia made up for the shortage with higher number of Indians visiting its neighbouring island.
The growth in total visitors in August eased to an unimpressive 2.5 percent year-on-year (YoY) to 190, 928, helped by the 7,000 more Indians making visits to Sri Lanka during the month compared to the same month last year.
Meanwhile, arrivals for the first eight months were also up by only 3.5 percent YoY to 1, 406, 854 tourists, suggesting that the country might fall well short of its year-end arrival target of 2.5 million visitors.
Sri Lanka targets an ambitious 4.5 million tourists by 2020 with a compound annual growth of 22 percent, a figure which is unlikely to achieve given the present rates of growth.
The new tourism master plan which was released recently said authorities would focus more on quality of the tourists—the spending capacity— visiting the country than the quantity.
Meanwhile, a total of 31, 220 Indians visited Sri Lanka during August, recording a growth of 28 percent YoY. This could be perhaps be due to the over a month long tour of Indian cricket team, which concluded last week.
Overall, 42, 649 South Asians visited Sri Lanka during August, recording a 17 percent
Meanwhile, arrivals from China, the second largest arrivals market for Sri Lanka, slipped in August by 3.7 percent YoY to 26, 507 visitors. However, the total arrivals from the East Asian region were up by 2.4 percent YoY to 42, 417.
Arrivals from the Western European region edged up 1.6 percent YoY as tourists from Germany during August fell 10.1 percent YoY 10.993. Arrivals from the United Kingdom rose 7 percent YoY to 21, 903.
Tourist arrivals from the Middle East fell 13 percent YoY to 16, 336 with Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Oman recording negative growths.
Arrivals from the North American region grew by 4.1 percent YoY due to higher Canadians tourists, as arrivals from Unites States fell slightly.