Sri Lanka crossed 512,281 tourist arrivals in the first half of 2013 (1H13) edging closer to the targeted 1.25 million arrivals by the end of this year.
Western Europe remained the highest source of arrivals by region at 196,355 during the first half, reflecting a growth of 13.8 percent year-on-year (YoY).
Arrivals from the United Kingdom increased by 15.2 percent YoY to 55,286 while German arrivals grew 14.4 percent YoY to 36,700. France accounted for a further 30,049 arrivals, amounting to an 8.5 percent YoY increase.
While remaining the single highest source of arrivals by country, Indian arrivals declined by a marginal 1.7 percent YoY to record 83,981 arrivals during the half.
In total, the South Asian region recorded 125,614 arrivals, up 7.6 percent YoY, while East Asia posted 69,310 arrivals during the half, against a previous 56,497 in 2012.
Arrivals from China displayed a notable 72.3 percent YoY increase crossing 16,582 during the half while Japanese tourists accounted for 13,458 arrivals, up 31.9 percent YoY.
Meanwhile, arrivals from Eastern Europe displayed a 21 percent YoY growth to post 37,697 arrivals. Russia was the leading source of arrivals from the region with 15,869 tourists, against 12,364 in the preceding year. Tourists from Ukraine accounted for a further 10,995 arrivals, up 28.6 percent YoY.
China, India and Russia are designated as potential emerging markets for Sri Lanka’s growing tourism sector with the three countries being the subject of promotional campaigns from the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau.
Tourism from North America grew by 11.7 percent YoY recording 30,563 arrivals while arrivals from the Middle East remained relatively flat at 24,497 arrivals, against 24,104 in 2012.