Saturday, 6 September 2014 00:10
Latest numbers push total arrivals to 1,001,643, growth 23.1% in first 8 months
No change in top 3 countries but China closes in on second position with 143.5% increase
By Uditha Jayasinghe
Staying true to predicted trends, August tourist arrivals to Sri Lanka increased by 13.8% to 140,319, pushing the total number past the anticipated one million mark and clearing the way for a strong finish to 2014, latest data showed yesterday.
At the end of July Sri Lanka had recorded a total of 861,324 arrivals, which was an increase of 24.7% when compared to the same period in 2013, statistics released by the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) depicted. With the addition of August, the numbers have climbed to 1,001,643, showing an increase of 23.1% in growth over the first eight months of last year.
However, the slight drop in overall growth between 2013 and 2014 was due to August recording the lowest growth rate this year due to seasonal changes. So far this year March and June also posted comparatively slow rates but demand is expected to pick up as the end of the year nears.
Overall growth during the first eight months is currently 23.1% with the highest growth of 51.4% coming from East Asia. No change was seen in the top three countries, with India leading the charge as usual with 151,427 arrivals for 2014 but recorded a minor 5.7% decline in August arrivals when compared with the same month in 2013.
The UK and China continued in the second and third slots respectively, with the latter making strong inroads to catching up with its rivals. Chinese arrivals have so far increased by a mammoth 143.5% for 2014, with 81,682 people landing in the first eight months of this year. Britain by contrast has locked in 98,347 arrivals but with a growth rate of only 5.4%.
Germany, France and Maldives rounded off the top six ranks. Russia has also posted strong growth with 68.8% growth to be the second highest source of tourists after China but failed to make a strong impact in terms of numbers with only 44,627 arrivals. Australia, Japan and US were the last three countries on the top 10.
The Middle East, which is another region the Government is keen on expanding into, recorded respectable increases with 63,424 travellers in 2014, which is a 14.6% growth. When comparing August 2013 with the same month this year, 16% growth was shown in the data with 18,823 holidaymakers. Other notable growth regions included Africa at 78% and Caribbean countries at 39.4% but both failed to make an impact in terms of numbers.