Sri Lanka’s tourist arrivals up 18-pct in March 2015, 1st quarter up 13.6-pct

Apr 06,2015 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s tourist arrivals rose 18 per cent to 157,051 in March 2015 from a year earlier with a surge in tourist arrivals from China and cumulative as at end 1st quarter to 478,838 with a growth of 13.6 per cent, data from the state tourism promotion office showed.

Sri Lanka tourist arrivals were up 11.6 percent to 321,787 in the past two months of 2015.

Arrivals from China, the Island’s second biggest market rose 84.5 percent to 53,135 in Jan -March from 28,798 a year earlier data shows. The Chinese arrivals to the island have risen rapidly over the last two years with 2014 ending at an all-time high.

For the month of March, Chinese visitors increased 81.5 percent to 13,975 from 7,700 in the same month 2014.

“These numbers are not reflective in the overall occupancy of the formal sector which is worrying given that the formal sector pays all their dues such as taxes and levies as stipulated by the government which help us do global promotions,” said, Rohantha Athukorala,chairman of Sri Lanka Tourism Promotions Bureau said.
“May be it’s time that we should do focused promotions with the formal sector, to see how we can plough back some of the money that they have contributed to the overall promotional fund.”

Sri Lanka recently launched a marketing campaign focusing only at China, looking at the increase of arrivals to the Island.

South Asian visitors were up 14.8 percent to 34,343 compared to the same month last year supported by arrivals from India, Maldives and Bangladesh.

India, Sri Lanka top market up by 16.6 percent to 21,838 in March 2015.

Visitors from Maldives were up 10.3 percent to 8,180 and Pakistan was up 4.7 percent to 2,618.

East Asian visitors were up 25.9 percent to 27,378 which contributed largely by Chinese arrivals to the Island.

However Malaysian visitors were down 23.3 percent to 1,765.Japanese were also down 10.7 percent to 3,393 and Indonesia was up 2.0 percent to 3,286 compared to the same month last year.

Visitors from Western Europe were up 27.4 percent 57,094 in the month with UK surged 36.9 percent to 16,191 and Germany up 22.9 percent to 15,294.Arrivals from France were up 8.5 to 10,054.

Eastern European arrivals were down 16.1 percent to 15,661 with Russia down 20.6 percent to 7,106 and, Ukraine were also down 54.6 percent to 1,502.

Middle Eastern visitors were up 29.6 percent to 8,594 with arrivals from Saudi Arabis up 46.1 percent to 3,903 and UAE up 3.7 percent to 795 but Kuwait was down 30.2 percent to 394 in the month of March 2015.

Visitors from North America were up 24.1 percent to 7,500 in the month of March with Canada up 19.6 percent to 3,158 and America up 27.7 percent to 4,342.