Friday, May 7, 2010

Sri Lanka Tourism - Sri Lanka Records World’s Highest Growth in Tourism

Sri Lanka has topped another list by recording the highest growth in tourist arrivals during the first two months of 2010. An interim report of the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) lists Sri Lanka with a 50 percent growth in tourist arrivals among 77 countries that have reported international arrivals data so far.

The small Indian Ocean island, which emerged one year ago from a brutal armed conflict with separatist rebels, outperformed 23 other countries with double-digit growth rates. Saudi Arabia ranked second (+45%) with Israel (+37%), Vietnam (+36%) and Nepal (+30%) rounding out the top five.

According to the UNWTO World Tourism Barometer, the first two months of the year represent approximately 13 percent of the annual tourist arrivals. From the countries that have so far reported international arrivals data for one or more months, 17 countries still show negative growth.

The report, however, strikes an upbeat note for world tourism stating, “After an exceptionally challenging 2009, international tourism is steadily regaining momentum.” Growth has been positive in all world regions, led by Asia and the Pacific (+10%). South Asia recorded the highest growth regionally with a 15-percent increase in tourist arrivals compared with last year.

In 2009, South Asia, with nearly ten million arrivals, accounted for only 1.1 percent of international tourist arrivals. In the same year, South Asia earned $15 billion in receipts from tourism with Sri Lanka earning $350 million. Maldives earned $590 million while India had the highest earning of $10.6 billion for the same period.

Marketed as Asia’s most treasured island, Sri Lanka’s diverse attractions have long been a favorite of European tourists. More recently, however, the country has been heavily wooing Indian, Arabic and Chinese travelers as well.

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