Tourist arrivals in Feb slump 16 percent over last year, though emerging markets grow.

Tourist arrivals in February saw a 16 percent slump over last year at 36,000, as visiting relief workers go home and holiday makers’ trickle back. Tourist arrivals in February saw a 16 percent slump over last year at 36,000, as visiting relief workers go home and holiday makers’ trickle back.

India continued to drive the numbers at 7000 arrivals this month, followed by the United Kingdom and Germany. Numbers are roughly 1400 arrivals short of January.

Non-traditional markets like the United States, Canada and New Zealand has shown an increase after Sri Lanka made headline news post tsunami, while arrivals have dropped from traditional Western European markets.

Tourism is also going into the off season with hotels damaged by the tsunami still re-building and expected to be up over the next few months.

About 47 of the 248 hotels are still out of operation, most of them in Galle, Kalutara and Trincomalee, the Tourist Board said.

Hoteliers have been given duty concessions on selected machinery and equipment imports to rebuild, with new buildings within a 100 m buffer zone from mean sea level.

The Tourist Board expects a 20 p