Sri Lanka tourist arrivals fall 5.8-pct; UK tops February

March 25, 2008 (LBO) – Foreign visitors to Sri Lanka fell 5.8 percent in February with a steep fall of Indian tourists and UK generating most visitors to the island, data from the tourist promotion office showed. Total arrivals fell to 40,551 from 43,051 in the same month of 2006 with the top generating market of Western Europe falling 4.9 to 18,762, and South Asia falling 13.4 percent to 8,787.

UK was the top generating destination with visitors holding steady at 8,928 from 8,967, widening the gap with India. Indian visitors fell to 6,114 from 7,350 last February.

German arrivals were down 10.8 percent to 3,627 but Eastern Europe rebounded with Russian arrivals up 27.4 percent to 1,689 and other countries up 42 percent to 2,136.

Middle East was up 2.3 to 933.

In East Asia Chinese arrivals climbed 4.2 percent to 1,326, but Japan fell 26.2 percent to 945.

In the first two months of the year cumulative arrivals were down 2.1 percent to 97,467. .