Sri Lanka tourist arrivals down 20% in July

August 15, 2007 (LBO) – Foreign visitors to Sri Lanka have fallen 20 percent in July with arrivals in the first seven months falling 24 percent, the country’s tourist promotion office said. Sri Lanka has been slapped by travel advisories while a worsening conflict and reports of human rights violations and killings of aid workers have also hurt the image of the country abroad.

Western Europe, a key generating market was down 25 percent to 18,495 tourists with travel advisory hit France falling 70 percent to just 795 tourists, the Ceylon Tourist Board said.

The Netherlands fell 40 percent to 1,872, but Britain was resilient, down just 6 percent at 9,540. Britain has a softer travel advisory on Sri Lanka.

South Asian, another top source region fell 19 percent led by India and Pakistan, though Maldives rebounded 29 percent with 3,546 visitors.

Indian tourists fell 30 percent to 7,632 in July with the total so far this year falling 23 percent to 61,547.

Sri Lanka’s listed hotels have been posting sharp losses in 2007, however Sri Lanka’s Central Bank has said that the sector is not material in a macro-economic context as made out by the media.

Tourism was only two