Tourism arrivals to Sri Lanka in May rose 10.1 percent to 125, 044 visitors from a year ago with cumulative arrivals topping 846, 229 during the first five months, recording an increase of 18.4 percent, the statistics released by Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority showed. The arrivals from China increased 31.5 percent year-on-year (yoy) to 16,004, being the highest growth market for Sri Lanka in May.
The cumulative arrivals from the East Asian giant rose 42.7 percent yoy to 112, 890, being second only to the neighbouring India. China’s economic soft landing could weigh on outbound tourism from China but the impact on counties such as Sri Lanka could be lesser due to its unique and differentiated offering. China’s economic slowdown is already hurting Macau’s tourism industry and the authorities are now trying to diversify the tourism product, which hitherto catered largely to the gambling indulgences of the wealthy Chinese.
Daiwa Capital Markets downgraded the Macau gaming sector to negative from neutral this week as earnings of casino operators were unlikely to recover this year, media reports said. Meanwhile, India emerged as the top source market for Sri Lanka with 34, 259 tourists visiting the country in May recording a 7.9 percent growth yoy. The cumulative arrivals from the world’s fastest growing economy had topped 145,773, up 21.9 percent yoy.
Visitors from Maldives amounted to 7,400 in May, a 11 percent yoy increase, while the cumulative visitors stood at 36,000, a 11 percent increase over the same period last year. Arrivals from the Middle East region grew a moderate 8 percent yoy to 6,000 while the cumulative number grew 12 percent yoy to 37,000, demonstrating fairly resilient arrivals from the region despite the squeezed budgets in the region amid record low oil prices.
Western European arrivals grew 9.5 percent yoy to 26, 826 with United Kingdom, Germany and France taking the top three spots with arrivals of 8,412, 7,591 and 3,281 respectively. The cumulative arrivals from the region rose 19.4 percent yoy to 273, 264 with United Kingdom accounting for 77, 295 visitors. The arrivals figures from the Western Europe and United States could be considered a litmus test to determine whether the renewed friendship with those regions is making the much importance economic sense.
The arrivals from the United States rose 15.6 percent yoy to 3,538 in May while the cumulative arrivals rose 16.7 percent yoy to 22,206. Meanwhile, arrivals from Russia fell 38 percent yoy to 1,756 but visitors from Ukraine was up 13.2 percent yoy to 1,213. The cumulative arrivals from Ukraine were sharply up by 71 percent yoy to 15,453. Sri Lanka tourism in May celebrated its golden jubilee with the patronage of Premier Ranil Wickaramasinghe. Sri Lanka targets 2.2 million arrivals by the end of 2016 and 4.5 million by end 2020 but the graded room infrastructure is barely sufficient to cater to such a demand. However the information accommodation sector is seeing a boom with the laying of the required eco-system through websites and mobile apps such as Airbnb, which enable people to list, find, and rent lodging.