Sri Lanka December tourist arrivals up 16-pct, annual up 2-pct

Jan 07, 2010 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s December tourist arrivals rose 16.2 percent to 56,862 from a year earlier as travel warnings were removed while annual visitors grew 2.1 percent to 447,890, tourist promotion office data showed. India retained its position as the top market for generating visitors last year, with the UK remaining in second place, for the second year running.

The December 2009 increase in arrivals was the seventh straight monthly rise in arrivals.

It followed the end of the ethnic war in May 2009 and easing of travel advisories by key tourist generating markets like Britain against their citizens in traveling to Sri Lanka.

The tourist arrivals from Western Europe rose 15.6 percent to 19,962 in December 2009 from a year ago with arrivals from the UK up 12.1 percent to 8,726, France up 31.6 percent to 1,833 and Germany up 13.2 percent to 3,614.

In South Asia, the number of Indian tourist arrivals rose from 49.6 percent to 10,418.

Overall, number of tourist arrivals from South Asia in December went up 22.1 percent to 15,339 although there was an 18.1 percent decrease in arrivals from the Maldives to 3,924.

India was the biggest source of tourists for the second year running although