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Sunday, 18 March 2012

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Tourist arrivals up 21 percent

The number of tourists arrivals during the first two months of this year recorded a 21 percent growth with 169,423 visitors compared to 139,994 recorded in the corresponding months last year.

Latin America and the Caribbean market dominated arrivals with a 83.8 percent growth notching 430 visitors compared to 234 recorded in the corresponding period last year.

Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority sources said that the online visa system and the infrastructure development have a major impact on the growth of tourism.

Sri Lanka tourism targets 45,000 hotel rooms to meet the surge in tourist arrivals.

The Western Europe which is a key market recorded a low growth rate of 17 percent compared to Africa, Middle East, Eastern Europe and East Asian markets. Africa recorded a 72 percent growth while the Middle East recorded a 42.3 percent growth.

Tourist arrivals in February this year recorded a 27 percent growth with 83,549 visitors compared to 65,797 recorded in the corresponding month last year. Eastern Europe dominated arrivals in February this year with a 62.4 percent growth with 7,882 visitors compared to 4,854 recorded in February last year.

Africa and the East Asia markets showed a significant growth with a 61.3 percent and 47.4 percent growth. North America recorded a 20.1 percent growth with 4,166 visitors in February compared to 3,470 recorded in the corresponding month last year.

The number of arrivals in January this year increased 15.7 percent to 85,874 from a year earlier. Sri Lanka Tourism Research Division sources said that the growth in January this year is slow compared to last year which recorded a 64 percent growth.

Sources said that the UK market was hit by economic troubles and the murder of a British tourist in December. German arrivals rose 7.0 percent to 5,933, the Netherlands up 22.4 percent to 3,590, Italy 31 percent to 2,107 and Sweden 25 percent to 2,876 in January 2012.

Arrivals from Eastern Europe rose 22 percent to 6,838, Russia 43 percent to 2,790 and Middle East up 70 percent to 3,950. East Asian arrivals rose 28 percent to 9,334 with Chinese tourists rising 21.5 percent to 1,952. Visitors from Japan rose 30 percent to 1,866 and Singaporean arrivals rose 41 percent to 1,453.

South Asian arrivals grew only 7.3 percent with Sri Lanka key generating market India, growth only 6.0 percent to 14.615. Indian currency has weakened over the last few months and visa free status for India also ended from December.

Sri Lanka Tourism expects the number of tourist arrivals to surpass one million by this year.

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