SRI LANKA needs 428,000 tourists in DecEMBER Still short of revised target; most arrivals decline in November
By Mario Andree
Sri Lanka needs more than 428,000 tourists during December to achieve this year's revised target of 2.3 million visitors. The country has welcomed nearly 1.87 million travellers during the eleven-month period ended November this year.
According to the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority, during the eleven months, tourist arrivals to the country increased 2.5 per cent to 1.871,871, from 1,826,041 recorded during the same period last year.
During November this year, Sri Lanka welcomed 167,511 tourists to the country, up a sluggish 0.2 per cent from 167,217 a year ago.
After falling 150,000 tourists short of the revised target of 2.2 million in 2016 – 450,000 short of the year's original target of 2.5 million – the Government hoped that this year, the country would be able to attract more than 2.5 million visitors, a figure later revised to 2.3 million.
With the Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB) being unable to fulfill its obligation and failing to execute the planned US$ 21 million tourism drive, this much-delayed promotional drive has now been transferred to the Prime Minister's office for quick implementation.
Minister of Tourism and Christian Affairs John Amaratunga blamed the SLTPB for its failure to execute the mega tourism promotional drive and its inability to meet the tourist target as envisaged, highlighting that Sri Lanka would end up with just over two million tourists this year.
Western Europe remained the largest market for Sri Lanka, followed by South and East Asia. As a single market, India dominated tourist arrivals to the country, with more than 336,840 tourists, followed by China with 249,718 tourists and UK with 180,123 tourists. During November, tourist arrivals from Western Europe, Easter Europe, Middle East and South Asia declined.
During the eleven months ended November, tourist arrivals from North America increased 5.8 per cent to 90,480 from 85,556, with arrivals during November up 14.5 per cent to 7,635. Arrivals from Latin America and the Caribbean increased 15.6 per cent to 5,696 from 4,926, with arrivals in November up 31.2 per cent to 584.
Arrivals from Western Europe increased 5.2 per cent to 605,108 from 574,978, despite arrivals in November declining 1.4 per cent to 45,903, while arrivals from Eastern Europe declined 0.4 per cent to 138,148 from 138,669, with arrivals in November falling 12.3 per cent to 18,636.
Arrivals from West Asia (Middle East) declined 11.9 per cent to 88,918 from 100,914, with arrivals in November down a staggering 230.4 per cent to 5,066, while arrivals from Africa increased 3 per cent to 10,264 from 9,969, with arrivals in November up 1.8 per cent to 926.
Tourists from East Asia increased 4.4 per cent to 406,062 from 388,816, with arrivals in November up 14.2 per cent to 36,087, while tourists from South Asia declined 0.4 per cent to 452,179 from 453,963, with arrivals in November down 2.3 per cent to 45,061.
Arrivals from Australasia increased 9.9 per cent during the eleven months to 75,016 from 68,250, with arrivals in November up 22.8 per cent to 7,613.
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