May 28, 2013, 7:47 pm
By Mario Andree
Tourist arrivals in the first four months of this year increased 11.7 percent to 368.627 from 330,116 recorded in the same period last year, but it is far lower than the expected growth to attract more than 1.2 million arrivals by end this year. Arrivals in the month of April increased 14.7 percent to 79,829 from 69,591 registered in previous April, Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority data showed.
Sri Lanka targets more than 2.5 million arrivals by 2016 with an approximate foreign exchange income of US$ 2.75 billion, and the SLTDA had predicted 30 percent annual growth from 2010 to 2016.
Sri Lanka named as the most favorable travel destination for 2013 by a leading travel magazine ‘Lonely Planet’ managed to achieve last year’s target arrivals through the support gained from 2010 and 2011.
Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority and the Sri Lanka Promotions Bureau have conducted several promotional events in the recent past to support the local Tourism Industry mainly focusing on the Indian market which however has show a 5.2 percent decline in arrivals in the first four months.
During the last four months tourist arrivals from North America increased 14.3 percent to 19,859 from 17,376 for the same period last year, while arrivals from Latin America and the Caribbean increased 3.2 percent to 651 from 631.
Arrivals from Western Europe increased 12.1 percent to 156.658 from 139, 692 with UK leading as always, while arrivals from Eastern Europe increased 17.7 percent to 31,754 from 26,980 with Russia leading.
Tourist arrivals from Africa declined 0.2 percent to 1,396 from 1,399, while arrivals from West Asia (Middle East) increased 0.7 percent to 15,023 from 14,921.
Arrivals from East Asia increased 19.4 percent to 45,648 from 38,229 with China leading, while arrivals from South Asia increased 5.3 percent to 79,880 from 75,895.
Tourist arrivals from Australasia increased 18.4 percent to 17,758 from 14,993 led by Australia.
Arrivals for the first four months from Sri Lanka Tourism’s focus market for the last three years, India, showed a decline of 5.2 percent to 52,892 from 55,780 despite several road shows conducted to increase tourists from India.
Tourist arrivals from many leading markets showed considerable declines in the month of April according to SLTDA data.