Tourist arrivals to Sri Lanka up 14.7-pct in April

May 27, 2013 (LBO) – Tourist arrivals to Sri Lanka rose 14.7 percent to 79,829 in April 2013, with Eastern Europe, China and Maldives showing gains but India and the Middle East weakening, official data showed. Arrivals from Western Europe, the top generating region rose 10 percent to 27,531, and was up 12.1 percent to 156,658, the tourism promotion office said.

Visitors from Britain rose 2.7 percent to 8,233, Germany rose 8.3 percent to 8,233, France rose 6.8 percent to 4,842, The Netherlands rose 14.1 percent to 1,619.

Visitors from Eastern Europe rose 34.5 percent with Russia rising 32.5 percent to 2,528 and Ukraine rising 50 percent to 1,518.

Middle Eastern visitors fell 14.2 percent to 3,268 in April, but year-to-date arrivals were still up 0.7 percent to 15,023.

Sri Lanka has seen a rise in Buddhist nationalist action against Muslims with their dress, shops and food labeling being targeted, which analysts say may discourage tourism, though no tourist have been targeted.

Middle East is an important source of visitors in the middle of the year, when arrivals from Western Europe slacken.

East Asian arrivals rose 34.2 percent to 12,012 with China surging 98.5 percent to 2,971