March tourist arrivals up 17.5%

Sri Lanka’s tourist arrivals rose 17.5 percent Year- on-Year (YoY) to 133,048 in March 2014, with Russia, China, Saudi Arabia and the UAE leading the list, data released by the country’s tourism authority showed. Arrivals in the first three months of the year were up 24.8 percent YoY to 421,501.

Chinese arrivals which include Hong Kong and Macau rose 155.1 percent YoY to 7,700 while arrivals from Saudi Arabia stood at 2,672, up 98.5 percent while arrivals from the UAE grew 80.5 percent to 767.

From the East Asian region, Japan was up 53.7 percent to 3,800, Malaysia was up 51.8 percent to 2,301 and Philippines dropped 1.7 percent to 951.

Tourist arrivals from Eastern Europe increased significantly in terms of growth with a YoY increase of 49.1 percent to 18,657 arrivals during the month under review of which 8,948 were Russians visiting the country, up 85.4 percent from a year earlier. Ukraine was down 8.8 percent to 3,311 and the Czech Republic up 27.5 percent to 1,464.

Meanwhile SLTDA data suggested that during the month under consideration, Sri Lanka witnessed a decline in arrivals from certain Western European markets such as the UK, Switzerland, and Norway etc. with the German market being an exception.

Accordingly, arrivals from the UK declined 13 percent YoY to 11,823, Switzerland fell 15.7 percent to 1,419 and Norway fell 17.9 percent to 474. However, the German market showed an increase of 19.9 percent to 12,448.

From the same region, France was up 27.8 percent to 9,266, Austria up 23.8 percent to 1,482 and Netherlands up 2.9 percent to 1,540. The North American region, which includes Canada and the USA, showed an increase in arrivals from 5,772 in March 2013 to 6,042 during 2014. Arrivals from the USA increased 4.3 percent YoY to 3,401and Canada 5.1 percent to 2,641. Sri Lanka Tourism follows the UN standard of defining a tourist as “a person who stays at least one night in a country and does not exceed his stay period for more than 12 months.”

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