Sri Lanka tourist arrivals up 27-pct in September

Oct 10, 2011 (LBO) – Tourist arrivals to Sri Lanka rose 27.2 percent to 60,219 in September from a year earlier, helped by surging arrivals from India and China, though British visitors fell, official data showed. In the nine months to September 2011, total arrivals rose 34.3 percent to 598,006.

During the month arrivals from Western Europe rose 4.3 percent to 19,392 from a year earlier, with French visitors rising 46.1 percent to 2,848, Germans rising 10 percent to 3,386 and Dutch visitors increasing 20 percent to 1,505.

Visitors from UK, the largest generating market in the region fell 11 percent to 7,871.

Russian visitors rose 43 percent to 1,153.

South Asian visitors rose 51.4 percent to 18,422 led by India, which sent 12,323 visitors un visitors, up 50.4 percent.

Indians have become the largest source of tourists after Sri Lanka allowed visa free entry to the neighbouring country. Nations in the ASEAN bloc boosted intra-regional tourism with visa free entry, contributing to joint prosperity and higher living standards in the region.

Analysts say Indian visitors are an important source of income to the small and medium sector of the tourism industry as well unlike the Western E