Sri Lanka tourist arrivals up 31-pct in 2011

Jan 06, 2012 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s tourist arrivals in 2011 jumped 30.8 percent to a record 855,975 from a year ago with the peak season month of December also at a new high, the tourism office said. The South Asia region accounted for the second biggest increase in arrivals which shot up 35.3 percent to 237,647 last year from 2010, accounting for 28 percent of the total.

Tourist arrivals in December 2011 rose 15.2 percent from a year ago to hit a monthly record of 97,517, exceeding the nation’s previous monthly high of 90,889 in November.

Sri Lanka’s previous record high for tourist arrivals had been 654,476 in 2010 with the tourism boom starting after the island’s 30-year ethnic war ended in 2009 with arrivals rising ever since.

The number of visitors from Western Europe, the island’s biggest regional market, rose 22.7 percent to 315,210, accounting for 37 percent of the total.

According to a country-wise breakdown of arrivals, the highest number of tourists came from India in 2011, rising 35 percent to 171,374 from the year before.
The United Kingdom was the second biggest market with 106,082 visitors, up marginally from 2010, while arrivals from Germany, another big m