August tourist arrivals up 18.7%     Follow

By Shabiya Ali Ahlam
Tourist arrivals to Sri Lanka continues to maintain its positive year-on-year (yoy) growth trajectory with the country having welcomed 166,610 visitors in August, an increase of 18.7 percent from the previous year, but a drop of 5.2 percent from the previous month.

While China continues to take lead as the nation’s top tourism source market for the second consecutive month with 24,734 arrivals, Western Europe remains the largest regional market for eight months straight with a yoy growth of 15.8 percent to 55,868 visitors. Top contributors in making that region take the lead was the United Kingdom (UK) with 17,908 arrivals, Germany with 10,913, and France with 9,543, all which showed a yoy increase of 15.3 percent, 5.3 percent and 9.1 percent respectively. 

Belgium arrivals saw a boost of 64 percent yoy, comparing to the 968 travelers in corresponding month last year.

Arrivals from East Asia, the second largest regional source, rose 39.1 percent yoy to 37,583 mainly due Chinese arrivals having increased by a staggering 73.3 percent. 

However, tourists from Japan continued to show dampened growth with numbers having dropped by 8 percent yoy to 4,814.

South Asia, ranking as the third top source market, continues to be a steady contributor to the local tourism space with total visits having increased by 30.3 percent yoy to 34,912.

Arrivals from India, also the second largest source market (country wise) to Sri Lanka increased by 31.4 percent with 23,540 arrivals while from Maldives and Pakistan the yoy numbers improved by 19.4 percent and 65.2 percent to 7,036 and 2,807.

Arrivals from Eastern Europe grew by 19.4 percent yoy with arrivals from Ukraine, Czech Republic and Poland having increased by 51.2 percent yoy, 23.6 percent yoy and 14.4 percent yoy whereas arrivals from Russia showed a slight increase of only 2.6 percent yoy.

Visitors from Australasia too saw satisfactory growth with the arrivals increasing by 15.9 percent yoy to 5,868, due to arrivals from Australia having increased by 20.52 percent yoy. However, tourists from New Zealand and other countries in that region dropped by 11.6 yoy and 44.4 yoy.

Arrivals from the Middle Eastern region, which last month saw a staggering yoy increase of 167.6 percent, showed a negative growth of 17.5 percent with arrivals declining to 15,523 from 18,823. In that region only arrivals from Israel increased 10.5 percent.

August records the second highest number of visitors for 2015. The highest number of arrivals was recorded in July with the country having welcomed 175,804 tourists. The 5.2 percent drop could be attributed to certain countries having issued travel advisories due to the general elections.

In the year-to-date, Sri Lanka has welcomed 1,172,465 tourists, signifying a 17 percent yoy growth. 

The country targets 1.8 million tourists end 2015 and 2.5 million in 2016.  Sri Lanka Tourism follows the UN standard of defining a tourist as a person who stays at least one night in a country and does not exceed his stay period for more than 12 months.

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