Sri Lanka tourist arrivals up 24.6-pct in Sept 2010

Oct 08, 2010 (LBO) – Tourist arrivals to Sri Lanka rose 24.6 percent to 47,339 people in September 2010 from a year ago, driven by sharp increases from traditional European markets, tourism office data showed. The island’s peak tourism season coincides with the northern hemisphere winter. In the January-September 2010 period, tourist arrivals were up 44 percent to 445,228 compared with the same months last year.

The number of tourists from the United Kingdom, a key market, rose 21.5 percent to 8,904 while those from Germany, also a traditional market, went up 40.3 percent to 3,057 people in September.

Tourist arrivals from Western Europe shot up by almost 43 percent in September 2010 to 18,599 from the previous year as travel warning in many countries were relaxed or removed after the ethnic war ended in May 2009.

The number of visitors from France shot up 185 percent and those from Switzerland, Spain, Belgium and Denmark, though smaller markets, more than doubled during the month.

But the number of visitors from neighbouring India, a newer market which has grown in importance in recent months, fell 13 percent during September 2010 to 8,864 visitors from a year ago.

The rise in overall