Tourist arrivals to Sri Lanka hit an all-time high in July this year. The number of arrivals, which clocked 209,351, represented a growth of 19.1% compared to July last year and is the highest number recorded in a single month since records began in the sixties.
What is significant is that the July arrivals figure is higher than even the figure recorded last December, which is traditionally Sri Lanka’s highest grossing month in the tourism calendar. Last December too was a record at the time with 206,114 arrivals but the July performance has eclipsed this mark.
Minister of Tourism Development, Lands and Christian Religious Affairs John Amaratunga is elated with the latest data. “We are very happy that our efforts are paying off. Though many say that there is no visible campaign, the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Board has been quietly getting about its task and delivering the numbers,” he said.
Amaratunga said that a worldwide destination promotion campaign on a multi-media platform would be launched towards November this year. “This campaign will essentially target the high season traffic and will use digital platforms in a big way.”
According to data released by the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) for the period January to July 2016, Western Europe has been the biggest contributor in terms of numbers generating 380,725 visitors. This region generated 321,472 visitors over the same period last year.
The second highest generating region was South Asia which is dominated by India with 283,689 visitors while the third highest generating region was East Asia dominated by China which produced 250,274 visitors during the period January to July 2016. Both of these markets have seen significant growth compared to the same period last year.
In terms of growth, according to country-specific data China with 163,473 visitors continues to show the highest growth in arrivals at 36.6% for the period January to July 2016. The second highest growth in arrivals has been from Australia with 38,657 visitors showing a growth rate of 19.8% followed by the UK with 110,649 visitors at 18.7%.
“We are happy to see growth all round especially in emerging markets like Australia which is very encouraging. We are on course to another record breaking year,” noted Amaratunga.