Sri Lanka September tourist arrivals up

Oct 12, 2009 (LBO) – Tourist arrivals into Sri Lanka in September 2009 rose 28.6 percent to 37,983 from a year ago, with strong growth from key European, East Asian and south Asian markets, the Tourism Authority said. The number of visitors from south Asia shot up by half to 13,072, with Indian arrivals rising 54.3 percent to 10,185.

Sri Lanka’s tourism industry is upbeat about its prospects with the end of the war and heavy bookings have been reported for the forthcoming winter season.

Prices of listed hotel stocks have also risen sharply in anticipation of a revival of the tourism industry, which had been in the doldrums for years because of the war. It was the fourth straight monthly rise in visitors since May, when a 30-year war ended, compared with last year, Tourism Authority statistics showed.

But the arrival numbers were slightly lower than in August and July 2009 with these months being the off-season.

Tourist arrivals jumped sharply in July 2009 just a month after government forces defeated the Tamil Tiger rebels.

However, total arrivals in the January – September 2009 period are still 2.6 percent down to 309,142 from the same period in 2008 as the war and global recession had deterr