By Cheranka Mendis
Sri Lanka needs only another 2,662 tourists to surpass the total tourist arrival figures of 2009. With the first nine months of 2010 recording tourist arrivals of 445, 228, Sri Lanka needs 2,662 more to surpass the total tourist arrivals of the year before.
This also brings to the fore the goal of achieving 600,000 tourists in 2010 closer with only 152, 110 more tourists needed rest of the year to reach the target.
Statistics revealed by Sri Lanka Tourism yesterday also indicate that the country has continued its growth process in September, recording a 24.6 per cent increase in tourist arrivals compared to the same period the year before.
The growth, which is incidentally the lowest for the year, (year on year) indicates the arrival of 47, 339 tourists during the month of September. Arrivals have shown signs of a decline since July this year, even though individually the numbers have grown each month compared to the same month last year. However, with the growth shown in September, it pushes up the total tourist arrivals to the country during the first nine months of the year to 445, 228, with a growth of 44 per cent over the same period last year.
Tourist arrivals from the country’s top tourism region — Western Europe — showed a growth of 42.8 per cent in September compared to the same month in 2009, recording an arrival base of 18,599 persons. It was closely followed by South Asia with 12,171 arrivals and East Asia with 5,366.
However, these figures show a decline from the numbers recorded in August, which were 25,512 arrivals from Western Europe and 6,734 from East Asia. South Asia arrivals have increased slightly during the months of August and September 2010, with August recording 12,058 arrivals.
India rose to be the single country with the largest number of tourists visiting Sri Lanka, after two months of challenge from the UK. Statistics showed India to have sent 8,864 tourists while UK only sent 8,904 persons.