Indian and Pakistani arrivals boost Sri Lanka’s tourist numbers

March 06, 2007 (LBO) – Visitors from Pakistan and India helped boost Sri Lanka’s tourist numbers in January while shy western Europeans continued to disappoint the war-torn Indian Ocean island. In January 56,000 tourists came to the island up 8.5 percent over the previous year with Pakistani arrivals growing by 171 percent to 2,300 and Indian arrivals reaching 16,000, up 65 percent.

The spiritual leader of the Bohra community, Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin, visited Colombo in January for a 10-day prayer session to mark the Islamic new year and around 12,000 of the faithful followed him.

Visitors from Western Europe were down 16.2 percent to 18,900 this January but, Britain which had a softer travel advisory, sent three percent more tourists.

Germany which had issued a travel advisory was down 29.5 percent to 3,816 in January.

French arrivals also slipped nearly half to 1,122 following last December’s trend where arrivals were down 50 percent from 1,585 to 828.

Although Chinese visitor arrivals displayed a marginal increase last December, in January the numbers were cut down by half to 738.

Australasian arrivals dipped 14.4 percent while North America also fell 1