Sri Lanka tourist arrivals up 31-pct in January

Feb 12, 2010 (LBO) – The number of tourists visiting Sri Lanka rose sharply in January with a recovery in traditional Western European markets and more visitors from newer south Asian markets after the end of the war. Latest data from the government tourism authority showed arrivals rose 31.9 percent to 50,757 in January 2010, albeit from a low base the year before.

We were at the height of the war in January 2009, said Dileep Mudadeniya, Managing Director of the Sri Lankan Tourism Promotion Bureau.

But this year, with the end of the war, and the winter season in the Western countries, the number of tourists has picked up very well.

The island’s 30-year ethnic war, which had long kept the tourism industry in the doldrums, ended in May 2009, and was followed by an almost immediate recovery in tourist arrivals.

Usually we have around 50,000 tourist arrivals in a good year, and we can see that after 4-5 years, Sri Lanka is coming back to its usual numbers, Mudadeniya told LBO.

The number of visitors has been on the rise since the end of hostilities and hotels have been reporting high occupancy in the current winter season, with listed hotel companies also reporting profits af