Sri Lanka’s leisure industry recovers in February

Mar. 22 (LBO) — Sri Lanka’s tsunami-hit tourism industry continued to recover this year, with arrivals for the two months to February rising 40.2 percent to 104,918 visitors, the Tourist Board said Wednesday. The tropical island famed for its golden beaches, lush, tea-growing mountains and historic sites dating back 2,500 years, greeted 52,687 (up 43.8 percent) holidaymakers in February.

“The numbers are encouraging, though they are off a low base during the initial post-tsunami months,” Tourist Board’s acting Director Statistics K Gnanaratnam told LBO.

Arrivals from the traditional European markets, which provide the bulk of package tourists, rose 65.8 percent for the 12-months to February to 25,376.

Visitors from Germany led the pack, rising 76 percent to 5,233, while Britain chipped in with 8,759 travellers, up 45.4 percent year-on-year to February.

However, Indian nationals continued to be the single largest group of visitors in what used to be a European-dominated market.

The tourist board said that 10,480 (up 44.9 percent) Indians made use of discount airline packages to visit the island in February.

Indians, on average, stay under five days in city hotels, spending US$100