Sri Lanka tourist arrivals up in June

July 09, 2009 (LBO) – Tourist arrivals in to Sri Lanka rose in June 2009, just one month after the ethnic war ended and the first monthly growth in over a year, the tourism promotion office said. The number of visitors to the island went up 8.1 percent in June 2009 to 30,234 from a year ago, according to figures released by the tourism office.

However, analysts said the growth may look exaggerated as June arrivals in 2008 were the lowest since June 2002.

Nevertheless, the tourism industry has been anticipating a recovery after government forces crushed the Tamil Tigers in mid-May, ending an over 30-year conflict that had deterred tourists and investors.

Many Western travel advisories that had kept away visitors have been eased since the war ended.

The June 2009 upturn in arrivals was the first monthly growth in arrivals since May 2008, analysts said.

The tourism office figures showed that the number of arrivals grew from almost all the major tourist generating markets in Western Europe, East Asia and also India.

Arrivals from Western Europe rose 7.5 percent to 10,161.

Visitors from the UK, a traditional market, rose almost 11 percent to 5,883, although those