Discount travel deals and aid work draw in tourists that are filling up city hotels

Discount travel deals and relief work are drawing in tourist numbers, as Indians and Europeans flocked into Sri Lanka and filled up city hotels in March. Discount travel deals and relief work are drawing in tourist numbers, as Indians and Europeans flocked into Sri Lanka and filled up city hotels in March.

Arrivals in March this year jumped 31 percent on last year to 50,418 tourists, with half the growth in arrivals due to an influx of Indian traffic, analysts at Asia Research said.

Indian arrivals alone were up 106 percent to 11,679 people or 23 percent of total arrivals, firmly displacing UK with 7989 tourists as main tourism market.

Most of those were short visits, frequenting city hotels and engaged mainly in shopping, Asia Research said, with positive fallout of the boom on city hotel traffic.

Occupancy rates in city hotels are up 75 percent, as against the 40 percent in resorts – many damaged or destroyed in December tidal waves that wrecked the coast.

The influx of foreign aid workers also continued, mainly from North American and European markets, Asia Research said, again, short duration, city hotel oriented.

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