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Sri Lanka tourist arrivals up 7.0-pct in Oct

Nov 10, 2009 (LBO) - Sri Lanka's October tourist arrivals grew 7.0 percent to 37,575 from a year earlier, but were slightly lower than the September figure of 37,983, data from the tourist promotion office showed.

Meanwhile the state has also mandated minimum prices for Colombo's five star rated hotels, and at least one hotel owner has said he wanted the hotel to be down graded to regain pricing freedom.

Visitors from Western Europe rose 11.

0 percent to 13,873 with France up 33, percent to 1,120, UK up 1.

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8 percent, to 6,592 and Germany up 13.1 percent, to 2,700.

Visitors from Eastern Europe were down 23.8 percent to 1,983 with Russia sending 1,311 tourists, 28.7 percent less.

East Asian arrivals were up 0.5 percent at 3,759, with China generating 755 visitors (up 14.4 percent) and Malaysia generating 643 up 45.8 percent.

South Asian arrivals grew at a double digit 15.3 percent to 12,587. India generated 9,219 visitors (up 14.7 percent), the Maldives 2,428 (up 18.2 percent) and Pakistan 675 (up 20.3 percent).

A long-running conflict with Tamil Tiger separatist ended in May raising new hope that the tourist sector will revive despite a global economic downturn.

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