Tourists travel cautiously May arrivals show slow growth

June 20, 2006 (LBO) – Tourist arrivals to Sri Lanka showed slow growth in May as local violence grows and travel from some European and South Asian markets slide.

Arrivals were up about 7.2 percent in May to 43,824 travellers over the same month last year, with top generating markets India and the United Kingdom staying strong.

Visitors from India grew 10.2 percent to just over 11,500 tourists, ahead of the UK at 8.4 percent growth, the Sri Lanka Tourist Board said Tuesday.

All other major European markets such as Germany, Netherlands and Italy increased by 5.7 percent, 45.8 percent and 60.5 percent respectively.

Numbers from other Asian countries like the Maldives, Pakistan, Malaysia and Singapore however has seen a drop as well as arrivals from France, Norway, Denmark and Sweden.

Outbreaks of local violence around the island and a low intensity civil war between the government and Tamil Tiger rebels in the North and East of the country, has been blamed.

Despite the surge in local violence, local authorities are still optimistic of reaching targets of 600,000 tourists this year, if a full scale war situation does not break