Sri Lanka tourist arrivals up 14.8-pct in Feb

Mar 14, 2011 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s tourist arrivals rose 14.8 percent to 65,797 in February 2011 from a year earlier, though visitors from key generating markets in the United Kingdom and Germany dropped. February arrivals were also lower than the January peak of 74,197 as the Western European winter season drew to a close. In 2010 tourist arrivals rose 46 percent to 654,476 from low base in 2009 when a 30-year war ended with arrivals growth 30 to 40 percent a month.

Sri Lanka’s resort tourism industry in particular depends on the Western European winter season for profits.

Visitors from Western Europe were broadly up 15.8 percent to 31,092 in February with France growing 45.1 percent to 4,993 and the Netherlands 59.2 percent to 2,596, government tourist promotion office data showed.

But tourists from the UK, fell 10.2 percent to 9,614 and tourists from Germany fell 5.1 percent to 5,367.

Smaller markets starting from a low base such as Austria (up 26.8 percent to 909), Belgium (up 43.6 percent to 800) Spain (up 45.3 percent to 494) more than made up for the drop.

Eastern Europe was up 9.2 percent to 4,854 with Russia rising 24.8 percent to 1,524.

East Asia was up 14.0 perc