Sri Lanka tourist arrivals up 21-pct in March

Apr 17, 2012 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s tourist arrivals rose 21.3 percent to 91,102 in March from a year earlier with arrival in the first three months up 21.1 percent to 260,525, the state tourist promotion agency said. East Asian visitors were up 44.3 percent to 10,148, with Malaysian arrivals up 47.3 percent to 1,958, Chinese arrivals up 6.0 percent to 1,442 and Japanese arrivals up 14.9 percent to 1,752. Up to March, 29,738 visitors came from East Asian nations up 39.9 percent.

South Asian market contracted 7.3 percent with Maldives arrivals falling 28 percent to 3,324. Indian visitors grew by a small 2.1 percent to 13,908, just ahead of Britain.

Last year Indian visitors grew 50 percent and had also contributed to expanding air traffic in the region. However from the beginning of this year, Sri Lanka ended visa free travel to India and the Indian rupee has also weakened.

Arrivals from Western Europe rose 35.6 percent to 40,686 with UK arrivals surging 35.9 percent to 12,032 reversing a contraction in previous months. In December a local politician was arrested after a British tourist was shot and killed and his companion allegedly raped.

German arrivals rose 29.6 percent to 7,654, French arrivals