Sri Lanka July tourist arrivals up 50-pct

Aug 13, 2010 (LBO) – Tourist arrivals into Sri Lanka surged by 50 percent in July 2010 to 63,339 from a year ago as post-war optimism and removal of travel advisories encouraged visitors even during the off-season, latest data shows. The increase in the number of visitors was driven largely by more arrivals from Western Europe, the traditional main market for Sri Lanka, from where arrivals shot up 72 percent to 28,738

The Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority’s latest monthly bulletin showed that visitors from Britain, for long a key market, helped drive the increase in arrivals from Western Europe.

Arrivals from the UK went up by 50 percent to 11,734 in July 2010 compared with the same month a year ago.

The number of visitors from Germany, another traditional market, went up 33 percent to 3,540 and visitors from France more than doubled to 3,738 while those from the Netherlands almost doubled to 2,697.

July is considered part of the off-season for the island’s tourism industry with the peak season coinciding with the northern hemisphere winter.

Sri Lanka’s 30-year ethnic war ended in 2009, resulting in an immediate increase in the number of tourists to the island.

The subsequent removal of tr