Sri Lanka’s two key markets, the UK and Germany brought in fewer numbers in May due to a combination of lack of promotions, good weather in Europe and rising airfares with a fuel surcharge.
The UK recorded a -0.4% growth last month with arrivals recorded at 4,452 this year compared to 4,469 in 2010. In addition, arrivals from Switzerland and the Netherlands also recorded negative figures of -25.8% and -6.5% respectively.
Newly appointed Managing Director of Sri Lanka Tourism Roomey Jauffer told the Business Times that while UK remained consistent and continues to be a strong market, India has surged to becoming the number one source market. The 39% growth in May arrivals to Sri Lanka mainly came from India that contributed 55.8% in growth with 16,649 arrivals compared to the 2010 figure of 10,686. He noted that arrivals increased due to promotions and cultural similarities between the two countries. On the other hand, Germany’s growth increased marginally by 3.2% from 2,071 compared to the previous year’s figure of 2,137. However, France was up by 81.1% at 2,758.
While in the resorts, hoteliers opined that occupancies were down, occupancies in the city were at 65%. However, total arrivals into the country indicated a growth in May of 39% compared to the previous year but visitor arrivals was lower than April 2011.
City Hotels Association President M. Shanthikumar observed that a lack in effective consumer marketing, a good summer in the UK and Europe were reasons for the downturn in arrivals last month.
However, he pointed out that in the case of France some private sector promotions carried out through designated agencies contributed to the increase in arrivals from there.
But in June special airfares on SriLankan Airlines and Emirates are likely to increase the arrivals from the UK, he said.
Currently the industry is gearing for talks with the government on the conduct of increased promotion in markets with a discussion set for next week.