Sri Lanka’s tourist arrivals rose 13.8 percent to 140,319 in August 2014 from a year earlier, driven by China and India, data from the state tourism promotion office showed. In the first eight months of 2014 arrivals were up 23.1 percent to 1,001,643. South Asian visitors were down 1.8 percent to 26,792 compared to the same month last year with arrivals from India, Sri Lanka top market, down 5.7 percent to 17,912.
Visitors from Maldives were up 30.1 percent to 5,891 and Pakistan was down 24.8 percent to 1,699. East Asian visitors were up 42.1 percent to 27,021 with arrivals from China up 139.9 percent to 14,274. In the eight months to August, visitors from China were up 143.5 percent to 81,682 compared to 98,347 from Britain up 5.4 percent.
Malaysian visitors were up 1.4 percent to 1,542, Japanese were up 6.9 percent to 5,233 and Indonesia was down 24.0 percent to 743 compared to the same month last year. Visitors from Western Europe were up 11 percent 48,253 in the month with UK up 0.1 percent to 15,532 and Germany up 29.4 percent to 10,364.
Western European visitors are strong in the northern hemisphere winter season and when Sri Lanka’s Western coast is sunny and calm until the monsoon season starts in May. Eastern European arrivals were up 26.6 percent to 6,979 with Russia up 36.4 percent to 3,246, But Ukraine was down 24.2 percent to 1,109.
Middle Eastern visitors were up 16.0 percent to 18,823 with arrivals from Saudi Arabis down 13.7 percent to 6,653 and UAE down 2.5 percent to 2551 but Oman was up 194.5 percent to 3,852. Sri Lanka targets 1.5 million tourist arrivals for the year 2014 with the key focus of achieving 2.5 million of tourists in the end of 2016.