May motivation

Monday, 8 June 2015 00:10 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

  • Fifth month records highest growth of 26.1% but from a lower base in 2014 
  • Overall growth 14.5%, with traditional markets India and China dominating Encouraged by latest data and Colombo becoming fastest 
  • growing city, says SLTDA Focus on top 18 markets to hit 1.8 m target  


By Uditha Jayasinghe

Lucrative tourism received a fresh boost in May when arrival numbers recorded the highest growth so far this year, albeit from a low base, growing 26.1% to reach 113,529 tourists.


The month of May in 2014 suffered a slump attracting only 90,046 visitors but the corresponding month for 2015 has continued to ride the prosperous wave begun at the start of the year, analysts said. However, numbers dipped from 122,217 in April to 113,529 in May according to seasonal changes. 

Overall, at the end of first five months of the year, tourist arrivals had grown by 14.5% to 714,584 travellers, latest data released by the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) showed. 

No changes were seen among the top five countries, with traditional market India leading the way with 119,593 arrivals and posting a growth of 26.8%. The second place was bagged by China, which nearly doubled its arrival numbers from the previous year’s 43,885 to 79,098, posting a growth of 80.2%. 

The UK, which slipped to third place, recorded marginal growth from 58,333 in 2014 to 64,000 in 2015. Germany grew from 45,524 to 51,413 in May 2015 while France rounded off the top five with 41,767 arrivals, which is an increase of 12.4%. 

Maldives, Russia, Australia, US and Japan rounded off the bottom half of the top 10 category.  

Colombo was also recently voted as the fastest growing city in terms of international overnight visitor numbers in the annual MasterCard Global Destinations Cities Index released last week, an accolade that has encouraged SLTDA. 

“This accolade motivates us to work harder in unison with the key stakeholders to implement the Sri Lanka Tourism Master Plan for 2016 which focuses on the top 18 markets that can bring in a demand chain of 1.8 million visitor arrivals,” Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau Chairman Rohantha Athukorala was quoted as saying in a statement.

MasterCard South Asia Executive Director Vikas Varma commented: “Colombo’s ranking as the fastest growing city on MasterCard’s latest Global Destination Cities Index reflects the rising appeal of Sri Lanka as a tourist destination. Having been in the market for over 25 years, MasterCard sees great potential in the island nation. We will continue to showcase Sri Lanka as a premier tourist destination across our network, offering several exciting benefits and privileges for travellers.”

Tourist arrivals during the first quarter of the year amounted to 478,838, recording a year-on-year growth of 13.6%. Earnings from tourism are estimated to have recorded a year-on-year growth of 13.6 % to $762.3 million during the first three months of 2015, compared to the cumulative earning of $ 671.0 million during the corresponding period of 2014, the Central Bank observed in its latest external performance report. 

“The cumulative earnings from tourism increased to $ 956.8 million during the first four months of 2015 compared to $ 850.3 million recorded during the same period in 2014,” it added. 

Projections predict tourist arrivals will pick up from July with the year ending beyond the 1.5 million mark.