19 Nov, 2013 07:25:27
Nov 19, 2013 (LBO) - Sri Lanka's tourist arrivals rose 27.9 percent to 102,805 in October 2013 from a year earlier, helped by surging arrivals from China, Maldives, India and Russia, official data showed.
Up to October arrivals were up 16.8 percent to 904,015.
D S Jayaweera, director general of Sri Lanka tourism development authority said last week arrivals would top a million in November.
Sri Lanka will have to draw about 296,000 visitors in November and December, or up 29 percent from a year earlier, to reach a targeted 1.2 million visitors for 2013.
Arrivals have been at or slightly above 26 percent over the past three months, and if the trend is maintained Sri Lanka would reach or come close to the target.
In 2012, arrivals grew 25 percent in November but only 15 percent in December, which is the peak month for Sri Lanka where the resorts depend on Western European winter travellers.
In October, the strongest absolute growth was seen from China with 5,798 visitors up 163 percent from a year earlier or 3,598. Maldivian visitors rose 86 percent or by 3,029 to 6,538.
Indian visitors were up 2,653 or 15 percent to 20,307. India is Sri Lanka's largest generating market, producing 151,896 visitors, up 8.7 percent.
The Indian market stagnated after Sri Lanka re-introduced visas to the country but double digit growth had been seen in the last few months.
Analysts say Sri Lanka being relatively less expensive than more distant alternatives after a steep depreciation of the Indian rupee, may be helping the country.
Western European arrivals rose 17.9 percent to 28,662 in October with UK arrivals up 6.9 percent to 9,375, Germany up 26.5 percent to 6,812, France up 21.1 percent to 4,208 and the Netherlands up 31.4 percent to 1,578.
Up to October arrivals were up 14.7 percent to 336,493.
Eastern European arrivals were up 59 percent to 11,206 with Ukrainian arrivals up 40 percent to 3,639 in addition to strong growth from Russia.
Middle Eastern arrivals were up 45.7 percent to 7,624, with visitors up to October up 12 percent to 49,250.
East Asian arrivals were up 31.3 percent to 14,668 in October led by China. Up to October China has generated 34,951 visitors up 85.7 percent.