Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Tourist arrivals up, but slowly

By Mario Andree

Tourist arrivals during the first ten months of this year increased by 16 percent to 774,151 in comparison to 667,569 recorded in the corresponding period last year, while the number of visitors in the month of October surged by 15.5 percent to 80,379 from 69,563, Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority data showed.

During the first ten months of this year arrivals from North America increased 21 percent to 46,963 with Canadian travellers including the Lankan Diaspora leading the way, while arrivals from Latin America and the Caribbean rose 66.2 percent to 1,278 from 769 in 2011.

Arrivals from Western Europe increased 17 percent to 293,472 from 250,847 registered in January-October last year with arrivals from United Kingdom topping the list, while travellers from Eastern Europe increased 51.6 percent to 50,087 from 33,031 with tourists from Russia leading.

Tourists from Africa increased 53.6 percent to 4,046 from 2,634 with arrivals from South Africa coming first, while travellers from West Asia declined 1.3 percent to 43,945 from 44,522.

Arrivals from East Asia increased 31.1 percent to 100,678 from 76,779 with travellers from Japan leading, the arrivals from South Asia increased 3.2 percent to 193,465 from 187,460 with tourists from neighbouring India leading.

Tourist arrivals from Australasia increased 23 percent to 40,217 from 32,700 with travellers from Australia leading the number of arrivals.

Several programmes to empower the SME sector are being finalized to provide better facilities to the arriving tourists, the government is in discussion with the World Bank to facilitate a grant of US$ 18 million to the SMEs in the hospitality sector which would reach 300 businesses.

The growth momentum slowing down after two years of rapid growth is posing questions about the achievability of the government’s anticipated goals for 2016 with 2.5 million arrivals and US$ 2.75 billion targeted from the industry.

The country would need to sustain 30 percent growth in the number of arrivals to the country through the four years to achieve set goals, industrialists said.

source - www.island.lk

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