Tourist arrivals into Sri Lanka surged by 50 percent last month to 63,339 from a year ago as post-war optimism and removal of travel advisories encouraged visitors even during the off-season.
Latest data indicates that the increase in the number of visitors was driven largely by more arrivals from Western Europe from where arrivals shot up 72 percent to 28,738. The Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority’s latest monthly bulletin showed that visitors from Britain helped drive the increase in arrivals from Western Europe. Arrivals from the UK surged by 50 percent to 11,734 in July 2010 compared with the same month a year ago. The number of visitors from Germany was up 33 percent to 3,540 and visitors from France more than doubled to 3,738 while those from the Netherlands almost doubled to 2,697.
July is considered part of the off-season for the tourism industry with the peak season coinciding with the northern hemisphere winter. The tourism office data showed that the number of visitors from the Middle East rose by 68 percent to 6,975. Arrivals from South Asia increased 15 percent to 12,736 in July 2010 from a year ago led by visitors from India, up 35 percent to 9,058.
The total number of tourist arrivals in the January-July 2010 period was up 48.7 percent to 341,991 from the same period a year ago.