Double-digit growth in tourist arrivals persists

Tuesday, 10 June 2014 01:03 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Sri Lanka’s tourist arrivals recorded a growth of 20.3 % in May 2014 compared to the same period in year 2013. During the month of May, 90,046 tourist arrivals in the country were recorded compared to 74,838 in May 2013, which is the highest in foreign tourist history for the month. The cumulative total of foreign tourist arrivals for the first five months of 2014 is 624,178, a 26.5% increase from the 493,294 that arrived during the corresponding period in 2013. Most of the tourists arrived from Western Europe with 200,605 tourist arrivals in the first five months of this year, recording an 18% increase over the corresponding 2013 figures. France recording 31.2% and Germany 22.6% followed by the UK topped the list of Western Europe. Arrivals from South Asia, the other region from where most of the tourists visit, increased by 19.4% in the year with 145,373 tourists visiting the island, while arrivals from India increased 22.3% to 64,327 in May. In the first five months of the year, 108,867 East Asians arrived in the island, an increase of 51.9%. The number of Chinese tourists arriving in the island jumped by an impressive 139.6% and recorded 43,885. Arrivals from Eastern Europe increased 46.6%, with 82,271 tourists. Most of the arrivals from Eastern Europe were from Russia with 36,655 arrivals, an increase of 77.4%. Arrivals from North America rose by 12.3% with 28,699 visitors for the first five months in the year while arrivals from the Middle East rose in May by 34.8% to 5,016 and for the year 28,708 tourists arrived from the region. Notably foreign tourist arrivals from China reached second highest, pushing the second traditional market of UK to the third place. In the first five months of the year, 20,539 Australians arrived in the country, an 11.1% increase from the previous year. Sri Lanka has earned $ 814.9 million from tourism in the first five months of this year, an increase of 34% compared to last year. Sri Lanka met its tourist arrival target of 1.2 million for 2013 with the numbers up by 26.7% from the 1,005,605 that arrived in 2012 and earned $ 1.718 billion in 2013. The tourism authorities have rolled out a global mega promotional campaign this year in order to keep the momentum going to achieve the 2.5 million tourist arrivals target by 2016, making Sri Lanka the emerging ‘Wonder of Asia’.