By Cheranka Mendis
Sri Lanka tourism continued its momentum in November with increasing arrivals to surpass the initial target of 750,000 by the end of the year.
Recording a 33.1% growth from 2010, the first 11 months of the year has welcomed 758, 458 tourists to the country. The monthly arrival figures shows November to have received 90, 889 tourists, the highest arrival number for a month during the year.
Arrivals have risen every month on a year-on-year basis since the ending of war in May 2009 while the Government is pursuing annual revenue of US$ 2.5 billion by 2016 from 2.5 million expected visitors.
Statistics from the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority revel that during the period January to November, the highest arrivals were seen from neighbouring India, from which 153,919 tourists had come to Sri Lanka. India is followed by traditional market UK with 96,019 tourists and Germany with 50,371.
On a regional basis, Western Europe takes the lead with 281,489 travelling to the country followed by 211, South Asians. Arrivals from North America were listed as 43,139 (24.1% growth from last year), Eastern Europe 42,958 (38.6% growth), Africa 3,061 (61.4%), Middle East 52,597 (54.2%) and East Asia 85,919 (43.2%)
On a monthly basis, the month of November saw 15,474 Indians coming into the country, followed by 9,589 UK tourists. However, UK arrivals showed a 2% decrease from November 2010, where 9,788 tourists reportedly came in to the country.
Moreover, arrivals from Indonesia too fell by 34.6% in November along with a 14.4% drop from Malaysia and 2.5% fall from Singapore. Belgium also recorded a 2.8% fall and while Australia recorded a 6.1% fall.
All regions showed growth during the month except for Australasia, which noted a fall of 5.7%.