Arrivals from Middle East and Eastern Europe contract
Dampened growth from over 20 countries
Must pull average 175,000 tourists in two months to reach 1.8mn target
By Shabiya Ali Ahlam
Sri Lanka’s tourist arrivals rose 8.8 percent year-on-year (YoY) in October despite declines from a few key source markets.
According to the latest statistics released by the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA), South Asia remained the largest source market for the second consecutive month, while India continued to maintain its position as the nation’s top tourism market, bringing in 30,574 visitors.
South Asia, accounting for 40,714 tourist arrivals, grew 14 percent YoY.
Alongside India that recorded a 16.9 percent increase, other contributors in making the region the largest source market were Pakistan and Bangladesh with 2,381 and 1,240 travellers, showing YoY increases of 38.8 percent and 19.3 percent, respectively.
However, arrivals from the Maldives contracted 11.5 percent to 5,718 compared to the corresponding month of the previous year. Western Europe, the second largest source market as a region, which expanded by 14.6 percent YoY bringing 36,749 travellers, saw arrivals from the United Kingdom (UK) declining by a marginal 1.4 percent.
While all other countries showed positive growth, Germany and France accounted for 9,681, and 5,313 tourists, emerging as key contributors from the region.
Continuing to be a steady contributor to local tourism was East Asian region with 27,516 travellers, coming out as the third largest regional source with a 21.5 percent growth YoY. Arrivals from China, which rose 44 percent YoY, remained as the second largest market for Sri Lanka bringing in 17,169 travellers. In addition to Thailand that grew by 48.8 percent, arrivals from all other countries in East Asia saw drops, with the highest being from Indonesia, which contracted by 34 percent YoY.
Arrivals from the Middle East plunged 39.3 percent YoY to 5, 366. Arrivals from all countries in that region dropped, including Kuwait and Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), where the number of tourists declined 68.5 percent and 36.1 percent, respectively. Arrivals from Eastern Europe also dropped 3.2 percent YoY to 11003. Arrivals from Russia declined for the second consecutive month this year having witnessed -17 percent growth YoY to 4574. Year-to-date, Sri Lanka has welcomed 1,448,119 tourists signifying a 17.9 percent YoY growth. A cumulative analysis show Sri Lanka has managed to welcome an average of 144, 811 tourists for most months. The highest number of arrivals was recorded in July with the nation having welcomed 175,804 tourists.
The country targets 1.8 million tourists end-2015. Sri Lanka must aim at attracting 351,881 tourists in next two months if it is to reach the set target.