European tourists accounted for 50 percent of the tourist arrivals to Sri Lanka during the first month of 2019, the data released by Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) showed.
Total tourist arrivals during January, 2019, rose 2.2 percent year-on-year to 244, 299 and Europe accounted for 122, 761, an increase of 4.8 percent YoY.
Arrivals from Northern Europe led by the UK rose 5.9 percent YoY to 38, 414. Visitors from the UK, which was the third biggest single source market during January, rose 13.5 percent YoY to 23, 036.
Tourist arrivals from Western Europe however fell 4.4 percent YoY to 38, 124 led by a decline in arrivals from both Germany and France.
Over 10 percent YoY arrival growth was seen from Central/Eastern Europe, where arrivals from the Russian Federation rose 16.5 percent YoY 13, 474.
Arrivals from Southern/Mediterranean Europe led by Italy rose 19.6 percent YoY to 13, 390.
Meanwhile, tourist arrivals from Asia Pacific, which accounted for 41 percent of the total arrivals, edged up 1.8 percent YoY to 99, 879. Arrivals from South Asia led by India increased 1.9 percent YoY 49, 327. India, as the single biggest tourism source market of Sri Lanka, accounted for 40, 049 tourists during January, an increase of 5.6 percent YoY.
China, the second biggest source market during January, accounted for 26, 414 tourists, an increase of 8.8 percent YoY.
Tourist arrivals from Oceania—mainly Australia and New Zealand—rose 9.5 percent YoY to 11, 462.
Arrivals from Americas, which include North America, Caribbean & Central America and South America, rose 5.3 percent YoY to 14, 771.
Tourists from the Middle East during January however fell sharply by 40.5 percent YoY to 5, 042.
Sri Lanka attracted 2.3 million tourists in 2018 and expects to attract 3 million tourists this year.
Tourism earnings in the first 11 months of 2018 rose 12.5 percent YoY to US $ 3.9 billion. Tourism authorities expect to close 2018 with estimated earnings of US $ 4.4 billion.
Tourism earnings target for this year has been set at US $ 5 billion. Earnings are calculated based on a survey.