Sri Lanka tourist arrivals steady in January

Feb 20, 2008 (LBO) – Sri Lanka received 56,916 tourists in January, around the same level as last year with a sharp increase in visitors from Russia which the tourism promotion office has identified as a new target market. January numbers were boosted in both 2007 and 2008 by the arrival of a spiritual leader of the Bohra community and his followers.

Arrivals from Western Europe increased 9.9 percent to 20,814 in January 2008 compared with the same month last year.

Growth in the Western European market was driven by increased arrivals from Germany, France, Austria, Finland, Italy, Spain, and Switzerland.

Tourist arrivals from Latin America and the Caribbean increased 117.3 percent to 639 in January 2008 compared to the same period last year.

Arrivals from Russia also increased 101.1 percent to 2,793 in January 2008, an encouraging sign, tourism officials said.

The authorities have already identified Russian as a potential big market given rising disposable incomes among consumers owing to growing earnings from oil exports.

A disappointing trend was the fall in the number of visitors from South Asia which dropped by 11.5 percent with Indian arrivals declining 13.8 percent to 14,319 in Jan