Sri Lanka's tourist arrivals rose 18.1 percent to 71,111 in September 2012 from a year earlier, with arrivals during the nine months up 16 percent to 693,772 data from the Indian Ocean island's tourist promotion office showed. Arrivals from Western Europe rose 15.1 percent to 22,327 with German arrivals surging 46 percent to 4,942 and top generating market Britain rising 9.1 percent after showing disappointing performance so far this year. In the first ten months of the year UK arrivals were only up 3.5 percent to 81,762. Arrivals from France rose 6.4 percent to 3,030 but Netherlands another key market fell 3.3 percent to 1,456.
North American arrivals rose 29.9 percent to 3,358 in September with Canada rising 23.7 percent to 1,490 and USA rising 35.3 percent to 1,868. Eastern European arrivals rose 89.1 percent to 4,673 while Russian arrivals rising 48.2 percent to 1,709 and visitors from Ukraine surging 171 percent to 1,599. Arrivals from the Middle East fell 13 percent to 4,166. East Asian visitors rose 21.4 percent to 10,729 with Chinese arrivals surging 66.5 percent to 2,675 and Malaysia rising 44.4 percent to 1,596. Singapore fell 14.6 percent to 1,082. Taiwan generated 1,542 visitors up 93.5 percent.
Indian arrivals grew only 4.2 percent to 13,888. Up to September total arrivals rose a bare 1.3 percent to 122,120.
India became Sri Lanka's top market with high growth after Sri Lanka was declared visa free for Indian nationals. Visas were re-imposed to India and several other countries this year amid rising nationalism in the country. The electronic authorization process however is not that onerous. India's currency has also depreciated making it more expensive for its citizens to travel outside. Arrivals from the tiny atoll nation of Maldives rose 5.8 percent to 3,701. Up to September the market grew 10.1 percent to 30,938.
Sri Lanka welcomed 855,975 tourists in 2011 and has a target of 950,000 tourist arrivals this year with official expecting arrivals to top a million visitors.
Source: Oct 24, 2012 (LBO), Image by Sri Lanka Tourism