Tourist arrivals dip in June as industry battles off-season, politics

July 14, 2006 (LBO) – Tourist arrivals to Sri Lanka slipped slightly in June as arrivals from some key markets in Europe, including the United Kingdom, turned negative.

Arrivals dropped 3.6 percent in June to just over 44,000 tourists, Sri Lanka’s Tourist Board said, with the industry still in off-season and also battling political upheaval.

The numbers are however thought to be on inflated June arrivals last year, due to tsunami aid work related visitors and expatriates.

India still leads as top market, growing 24.3 percent to 11,833 travellers, seen as a year round destination for Sri Lanka, even in usually barren months like May and June.

Sri Lanka is hoping to grow arrivals from India to 150,000 this year from 113,332 last year, wooing high spending Indians from places like Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore.

Other South Asian markets like Pakistan did well with overall arrivals from the region up 16 percent, though Maldives showed a four percent drop to 1970 tourists in June.

Arrivals from the United Kingdom were also down 2.6 percent, Germany by 2.9 percent, France by nearly 49 percent, Norway by 53.7 percent and Denmark down by just o