Tourist arrivals to Sri Lanka up 3.2-pct in 2017 despite set-backs

Jan 05, 2018 (LBO) – Tourist arrivals to Sri Lanka has reached an all-time high of 2,116,407 in 2017 according to the latest data released by the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority.

The arrival figure for 2017 represents a 3.2 percent growth or 65,595 more arrivals over the preceding year when the figure crossed the 2 million mark for the first time.

The higher number of arrivals has been achieved despite serious set-backs to the tourism industry right throughout 2017.

The first setback was the partial closure of the country’s main airport from January to April where many airlines either scaled down operation or completely halted flights to Colombo.

“However just weeks after the airport reopened in April, the southern half of the country experienced devastating floods,” Tourism Ministry said.

“This was followed by an unprecedented dengue epidemic centered around the commercial capital Colombo that lasted several months.”

According to SLTDA data, arrivals in December grew from 224,791 in 2016 to 244,536 in 2017 reflecting an 8.8 percent growth rate which augurs well for the winter season ahead.

India continued to be the top source market with 384,628 arrivals (up 7.8%) followed by China with 268,952 (down 1%) and UK 201,879 (up 7.3%).

Of the total number of arrivals 2,085,272 reached the country via BIA in Katunayake, 5,491 via MRIA in Mattala, 10,569, via Colombo Harbour, 14,099 via Galle Harbour and 976 via other ports according to statistics from the Department of Immigration and Emigration.