Sri Lanka’s tourism arrivals slip 2.5% in July

August 8, 2006 (LBO) – Sri Lanka greeted fewer visitors for the second straight month in July, as holidaymakers shied away amidst heavy fighting between government and Tamil Tiger rebels. The Indian Ocean Island welcomed 55,354 travellers 2.5 percent lower over the corresponding month last year and the low numbers is also threatening the leisure industry’s recovery from the December 2004 tsunami.

“The prevalent security situation is causing a drop in tourism arrivals,” explained K Gnanaratnam, Director Statistics of the Sri Lanka Tourist Board.

Visitors from neighboring India continued to anchor the island’s tourism arrivals, lured by steep airline discounts and shopping bargains in Colombo city.

The board said there was an 18.1 percent growth in Indian traffic to 10,870, as the country rolled out the carpet for high spenders from New Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore.

Sri Lanka’s traditional markets of United Kingdom and Germany, continued to under perform, despite periodic promotional campaigns to lure beach travelers.

Sun worshippers from Germany dropped 13.5 percent to 3,897, while the UK declined 7.4 percent to 10,134 visitors during the month of July, the

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