Sri Lanka welcomes 2.05mn tourists in 2016

Updated: 00:00 GMT, Jan 1, 1970 | Published: 10:54 GMT, Jan 4, 2017 |

Tourist arrivals to Sri Lanka in 2016 crossed little over 2.05 million, growing at a rate of 14 year-on-year (YoY), yet below the revised government target of 2.2 million tourists, the data released by the country’s tourism office showed.

This was resulted by a slower tourist arrival growth of 9.1 percent year-on-year (YoY) to 224, 791 tourists—the third lower YoY arrival growth in 2016. Arrivals from Western Europe in December grew 9.3 percent YoY to 68, 355 tourists, with arrivals from the UK and Germany increasing 9 percent to 20, 446 and 5.9 percent to 11, 904, respectively.

South Asian arrivals grew 5.7 percent yoy to 59, 573 with Indian arrivals growing 7.1 percent yoy to 37, 945. But arrivals from Maldives fell 2.2 percent yoy to 15, 912. Tourists from Eastern Europe grew 17 percent yoy to 22, 502 in December with higher arrivals from Russia and Ukraine. China accounted for more than half of the East Asian arrivals in December total arrivals from the region grew 11 percent yoy to 36, 345 and Chinese arrivals growing 21.9 percent yoy to 19, 318.

Arrivals from Middle East fell 6.3 percent yoy to 6721 with fewer tourists from Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates visiting the island nations. However, tourist arrivals from Israel rose almost 30 percent yoy to 1, 068.

Tourist arrivals from Australasia rose 14.3 percent yoy to 15, 601, with higher number of tourists coming from Australia and New Zealand compared to the previous year.   On a cumulative basis, Western Europe, in 2016, was able to retain its position as Sri Lanka’s largest source market with 643, 333 arrivals, up 16.5 percent yoy.

South Asia was second with cumulative arrivals of 513, 536, up 11.8 percent. Arrivals from India topped 350, 000—the highest number of tourists from any country—growing at over 12 percent yoy. East Asia became the third largest source market for Sri Lanka in 2016 with cumulative arrivals of 425, 161, up 17.2 percent yoy. Chinese arrivals throughout the year grew at the faster rate of 26.4 percent.