Sri Lanka’s tourism industry has witnessed a 34.4% increase in arrivals in the first nine months of this year amidst renewed emphasis for focused marketing within Asia.
Tourist arrivals in September increased by 27.2% compared to the same period last year with Western Europe and South Asia recording the highest number of visitors, statistics released by the Sri Lanka Tourism Authority stated.
However, interestingly increase in arrivals was mainly from East Asia and South Asia at 64.8% and 51.4%, respectively.
In this regard, the increase in arrivals from Western European nations was marginal at 4.3% compared to the same period last year.
Statistics also indicate a drop in UK arrivals by 11.6% although Germany and France had shown a growth of 10.8% and 46.1%, respectively.
In addition, growing markets India had recorded a significant increase from 8,864 to 13,329 and similarly, China arrivals surged from 650 to 1,607 last month.
Hotels Association President Anura Lokuhetty said that last month was an improvement indicating that there is a possibility for the industry to achieve the 800,000 target in tourist arrivals.
Taking into account the arrival figures, it is believed that there is a need to concentrate on the Asian market, which has shown the biggest growth in tourist arrivals by about 13.4% in 2010 globally.
Mr. Lokuhetty observed they should concentrate on developing tourism among SAARC countries. For instance within India alone the Ramayana Trail is being popularized and is continued and followed here in Sri Lanka as well.
The tourism industry initiated the development of tourist arrivals from India 10 years back.
However, it is noted that Western European nations are hard to ignore as they continue to play a vital role in contributing to increased tourist arrivals to Sri Lanka.
In addition, room nights have increased among European tourists visiting the country with an average stay amounting to 8-14 nights.