Sri Lanka April tourist arrivals up nine percent

Chandi Dharmaratne

May 16, 2012 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s tourist arrivals rose 9.0 percent to 65,591 in April this year, which helped raise the number of holidaymakers for the first four months of 2012 to 330,116, official data showed Wednesday. The Eastern European market expanded 42.9 percent to 26,980 visitors in April this year, helped by 58.7 percent (10,698) growth in Russians and a 96.9 percent (6,744) rise in Ukrainians.

The Middle East market, which Sri Lanka is aggressively promoting itself, saw a 12.5 percent growth to 14,921 in April this year, over the same month a year earlier.

East Asian visitors were up 37.0 percent to 38,229 in April 2012, led by a 35.4 percent (7,652) rise from Japan, 11.2 percent (6,831) growth from China, 28.4 percent (6,136) rise from Malaysia and 250.5 percent (1,381) increase from the Philippines.

The South Asian market grew marginally by 5.2 percent to 75,895, led by a 6.9 percent (55,780) rise from India, while Maldives fell 0.5 percent to 12,698.

Sri Lanka hopes to greet over a million tourists in 2012, up from a record 855,975 welcomed in 2011.

The island has set its sights on a five-fold increase of 2.5 million visitors by 2015 after government forces crushed the Tamil Tiger rebels in Ma