Tourist arrivals to Sri Lanka this July fell 1.8 percent to 205,482 tourists compared to July 2016, as the Chinese tourist boom, which pushed up the market growth during the last off-season, petered out, bringing to question whether even the revised 2.2 million tourist arrival projection for this year will
Sri Lanka’s largest regional market in Western Europe expanded 3.9 percent year-on-year (YoY) to 80,896 tourists, despite the two traditionally largest markets, the UK and Germany, both fell 1.6 percent and 1.2 percent YoY, attracting 23,553 and 10,835 tourists, respectively.
French arrivals grew 4 percent YoY to 11,390 visitors, while Dutch arrivals grew 22.9 percent YoY to 11,990 tourists.
East Asian arrivals fell 3.8 percent YoY to 41,264 tourists, weighed down by Chinese arrivals that fell 7.1 percent YoY to 28,445 tourists. The Japanese market grew 10.8 percent YoY to 4,025 tourists.
Arrivals from South Asia meanwhile fell 4.2 percent YoY to 40,769 tourists, due to a fall in arrivals from the Maldives, Bangladesh and other neighbours, in spite of arrivals from India increasing 4.8 percent YoY to 29,006 tourists. The Middle East market contracted 13.1 percent YoY to 16,163 tourists, while arrivals from North America increased 6.1 percent YoY to 10,875 tourists and arrivals from Australasia fell 2.4 percent YoY to 7,958 tourists. Inbound visitors from Eastern Europe fell 18 percent YoY to 6,127 tourists.
For the first seven months of 2017, arrivals to the island grew by 3.6 percent YoY to 1.22 million tourists. For the remaining five months, arrivals would have to grow by nearly 12 percent YoY to reach the 2.2 million arrivals target of the government. The state had until a fortnight ago held on to a 2.5 million tourist arrivals projection for the year, despite the lack of any large-scale tourism promotional efforts. Many stakeholders are now blaming the widespread prevalence of dengue as the cause for the decline, despite the government until this June insisting that dengue played no role in visitor levels this year. For the first seven months, arrivals from Western Europe increased 8 percent YoY to 411,230 tourists, while South Asian arrivals fell 3.8 percent YoY to 272,853 tourists and East Asian arrivals fell 4.6 percent YoY to 261,561 tourists.
Dengue: No cause for alarm, ministry tells tourists
Since the dengue epidemic has been successfully brought under control, the tourists visiting Sri Lanka need not be alarmed or distressed over the situation, a Tourism and Christian Religious Affairs Ministry statement said.
“Though the Western Province area was affected with the disease, it is under control now with the efforts of creating dengue eradication and awareness programmes and Colombo is now being cleared of garbage and the cleaning of drainage systems is also taking place,” the statement said.
“The number of dengue cases has decreased sharply by 40 percent since mid-July due to planned and systematic efforts by the respective state authorities in the recent weeks,” it added.
The ministry therefore urged the travellers to resort to correct sources of information to find out the latest updates on the disease, such as the Health Ministry website and all Sri Lanka missions abroad.
“Sri Lanka Tourism will continue to update the progress and is confident that there is no cause for alarm,” the statement said.