July 13, 2011 (LBO) – Tourist arrivals to Sri Lanka rose 19.9 percent in June to 53,636 with the Middle East and Asia driving growth and Western Europe flattening, data from the tourism promotion office showed. Visitors from South Asia rose 22.1 percent to 18,431 with India rising 12,927 and Maldives rising 12.8 percent to 3,679. Visitors from India zoomed after Sri Lanka allowed on-arrival visas from the country in 2002.
Visitors from Western Europe edged up only 1.5 percent to 14,087 with UK arrivals dropping 17.2 percent to 5,188. But arrivals from France rose 36 percent to 2,019 and German visitors rose 31 percent to 2,474.
European arrivals peak during the northern hemisphere winter and Sri Lanka’s western coast is also less sunny during the local rainy season. However Sri Lanka is now opening up its East coast which is bright and sunny and calm during middle of the year.
Middle Eastern visitors rose 79 percent to 4,487 and East Asian visitors rose 32 percent to 6,836. Arrivals from China rose 33.5 percent to 1,132 from Japan up 48 percent to 1,180 and Singapore up 18 percent to 1,343.
Visitors from Australia rose 6.7 percent to 2,727.