Mar 06, 2017 (LBO) – Tourist arrivals in Sri Lanka fell 0.1 percent in February 2017 to 197,517, compared with the same month in 2016, the first fall since May 2009 following a daytime closure of the airport for runway repairs.
The dip on the back of lower Chinese and Indian arrivals follows a 12.9 percent year-on-year growth shown in January.
Chinese arrivals were down 21.6 percent to 25,248 while Indian arrivals dropped 0.9 percent to 26,320, data from the Tourist Development Authority said.
Sri Lanka’s Bandaranayake International Airport (BIA) is closed for eight hours a day from 8.30 am to 4.30 pm for four months until April 06 which has caused inconvenience for travelers and long waiting time at the main airport.
However, arrivals from Western Europe grew 4.4 percent to 76,770 with UK growing 5.3 percent 20,218 and Germany up 2.0 percent to 14,712. But France dropped 4.7 percent to 13,909.
Eastern European arrivals also grew 9.3 percent to 23,768, while total East Asian arrivals dropped 11.1 percent to 32,460.
In January arrivals grew 12.9 percent to 219,360 despite the airport closure.
Tourist arrivals hit record highs in 2016, with annual arrivals jumping 14 percent to a record 2.05 million.
Revenue from the industry was recorded at 3.4 billion dollars in 2016, up from 2.98 billion dollars in the previous year.