Sri Lanka has seen a significant increase in tourist arrivals in the country this year compared to last year according to statistics published by the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority.
Up to November this year 569,849 tourist arrivals have been recorded. This is an increase of 47% over 2009. Last week the tourism officials welcomed the 600,000th tourist, a British national, to Sri Lanka during 2010.
The British High Commission in Colombo says tourists arriving from Britain have increased following the UK government's decision to lift the restrictions against travel to Sri Lanka. There are no travel restrictions to any part of Sri Lanka now.
From January to November 95,320 British tourists visited Sri Lanka in 2010, a 30.8% percent increase over the 72,868 that visited in the same period last year. The British tourist arrivals this year accounted for 17% of the total visitors to the country. In 2009 too, 19% of the total tourist arrivals to Sri Lanka were from the UK.
British tourists were the second highest number to visit Sri Lanka in 2010 - next to India. A total of 111,129 tourists from India visited Sri Lanka that year.
The High Commission expects the arrivals from the UK to surpass 125,000 by the end of this year.
Commenting on the statistics, Deputy High Commissioner Mark Gooding has said that the historical connections between the UK and Sri Lanka mean lots of British nationals want to come to the island, a former British colony, each year.
Gooding has advised the travellers to the country to read the FCO travel advice before they arrive.
"Our Consular team in Colombo is readily available to advise and help British nationals who encounter problems during their stay, but obviously what we want most is to help them prevent unfortunate incidents so they can enjoy their Sri Lankan vacation happily and safely," Gooding has said.
According to the British High Commission in Colombo the Consular Section has put forward several measures to ensure a safe trip to the country.
The Consular Section introduced an SMS alert system in April 2010 to inform its contact details to the British nationals arriving in Sri Lanka and publish an annual travel advice booklet that outlines simple, clear, and concise information, covering all bases.
They also focus on respect for religion and religious monuments and sites, awareness of local laws and customs and even common sense advice, such as making copies of one's passport and remaining aware of security risks, the High Commission informed.
The High Commission says, its Consular team also actively promote the importance of cultural sensitivity among British tourists to Sri Lanka in order to have a fun-filled and incident-free holiday, and the British nationals visiting Sri Lanka for more than a month are asked to register themselves on the Consular database.
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