November 10, 2006 (LBO) – Holidaymakers to Sri Lanka fell 12.0 percent for the 12 months to October, the Sri Lanka Tourist Board said Friday, amidst soaring violence in the North and East. Sri Lanka greeted 38,815 visitors in October, the largest monthly decline since December 2005, as government troops and Tamil Tigers stepped up attacks against each other.
However, cumulative arrivals from Jan-Oct, rose 7.4 percent to 482,787 tourist, the board said.
Sri Lanka was counting on 600,000 tourists this year, but Seenivasagam Kalaiselvam, Director General of Sri Lanka’s tourist board, expects visitor arrivals to be flat at just over 500,000 in 2006.
India retained its place as the single largest visitor group by destination, with cumulative arrivals up 19.8 percent to 110,453. However, arrivals in October slipped 2.5 percent to 9,483 visitors.
Traditional key markets of Britain and Germany, which attracts the usual sun ‘n surf discount packages, continued to falter, as sun worshippers cancelled their holidays.
Arrivals from Britain fell 30.9 percent to 5,837, while German fell 14.8 percent to 4,218, for the 12 months to October ˜06.
“We believe arrivals are