Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Tourist arrivals up 34.3 percent

By Mario Andree

Tourist arrivals during the first nine months of this year increased by 34.3 percent to 598,006 from 445,228 recorded for the same period in 2010. Arrivals in September grew 27.2 percent to 60,219 from 47,339 registered in the corresponding month last year.

Tourist arrivals for the first nine months from North America increased 23.4 percent to 36,016 from 29,185, while arrivals from Latin America increased 69 percent to 703 from 416.

Arrivals from Western Europe increased 25.3 percent to 226,990 from 181,099, while leisure traffic from Eastern Europe increased 25.2 percent to 28,321 from 22,623.

Tourists from Africa saw the highest growth increase of 60.9 percent to 2,335 from 1,451, while arrivals from West Asia increased 49.4 percent to 40,517 from 27,111.

Arrivals from East Asia increased 46.5 percent to 68,518 from 46,785, while tourists from South Asia increased 44.8 percent to 164,771 from 113,781.

Leisure travellers from other countries increased 31 percent to 29,835 from 22,777.

The hospitality industry firmly believes Sri Lanka would reach 850,000 tourists this year performing an average growth of 30 percent.

The Sri Lanka Association of Inbound Tour Operators (SLAITO) last month forecast that Sri Lanka would achieve more than one million arrivals this year with several promotional activities taking place.The Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority in association with the Emigration Authority launched an online Visa approval system to support and attract more tourists as its first initiative after the launch of the Tourism Development Strategic plan 2011/16.

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