Sri Lanka May tourist arrivals up 17.5 percent

June 12, 2012 (LBO) – Tourist arrivals to tropical Sri Lanka, surged 17.5 percent in May, over the same month a year earlier, as visitors took advantage of the post-war peace three-years since the ethnic conflict ended. On Monday, the central bank said earnings from tourism arrivals had risen 26.0 percent to 340 million dollars for the four months to April this year, over the same period a year earlier.

Sri Lanka offers tourists miles of golden beaches, misty mountains, colonial architecture, ancient royal kingdoms and tropical jungles teaming with wildlife and exotic plants.

The leisure industry was hurt during the island’s nearly four decades long conflict with Tamil Tiger rebels, which ended in May 2009. The United Nations estimates some 100,000 people perished during the conflict.

Tourism remains a key foreign exchange earner for Sri Lanka’s 59 billion dollar economy along with exports of garments, tea and remittances from expatriate workers. The tear-shaped island attracted 57,506 visitors in May, Sri Lanka Tourism said Tuesday, which helped raise arrivals from January to May by 18.2 percent to 387,622.

Neighbouring India, continued to dominate tourism arrivals, followed by traditional markets of the