By Shabiya Ali Ahlam
Tourist arrivals to Sri Lanka for the month of February nearly doubled from the January figures, with a total of 3,366 travellers having visited the island nation.
Although an improvement from the previous month, the data released by Sri Lanka Tourism yesterday showed that the arrivals in February dipped to 98.4 percent, when compared with the 207,507 arrivals recorded in the corresponding month of the previous year.
According to Sri Lanka Tourism, the decline reflects the unprecedented health, social and economic crisis caused by the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Analysis of data captured by the Immigration and Emigration Department showed that just as in January 2021, Europe continued to be the largest source market with 85.7 percent of tourist traffic coming from Kazakhstan, Ukraine and Germany, which are also the top three source markets in February.
Following closely behind the top three were the Russian Federation and China.
Arrivals from Kazakhstan contributed to 36.6 percent of the total arrivals in February, while Ukraine accounted for 25.1 percent, Germany and Russian Federation 7.3 percent each and China 3.5 percent.
Meanwhile, Asia Pacific accounted for 8.9 percent of the total tourist traffic, while the Americas accounted for 4.7 percent.
Sri Lanka Tourism stated it is noteworthy that arrivals from Kazakhstan have recorded an increase of 82.9 percent in comparison to February 2020. It pointed out that sub-region wise, the lowest percentage change of 94.4 percent was recorded from Central and Eastern Europe.
With regard to the increase in arrivals from the Central and Eastern European countries, Sri Lanka Tourism attributed the growth to the pilot project that was carried out from December 28, 2020 by the Government of Sri Lanka.
“This has resulted in Kazakhstan and Ukraine moving into the top positions of the main source markets,” Sri Lanka Tourism said in the Monthly Tourism Arrivals Report for February 2021.
Since the airport opened on January 21, 2021, Sri Lanka has welcomed a total of 5,048 tourists for the first two months of the year.
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