Tourist arrivals to Sri Lanka surges to all-time high
Posted on January 8, 2018
Sri Lanka welcomed 2,116,407 tourists in 2017, its highest ever, according to the data revealed by the SLTDA (Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority).
The tourist arrivals to this island country grew by 65, 595, or 3.1 percent, over 2016 when the number of tourists entering the country breached the two million mark for the first time.
It was able to attract a high number of arrivals in 2017, though its tourism industry went through a rough time in the entire year.
During the January-April period, the country’ main airport in Colombo, its capital city, was partially closed as many airlines either reduced operations or completely stopped flying to Sri Lanka.
Just weeks after operations resumed in April, the southern part of this South Asian country was devastated by floods, making many resort areas inaccessible. This had impacted its image in international media. As this crisis died down, a dengue epidemic struck around Colombo, lasting for many months, which too had an effect on Brand Sri Lanka as a tourist destination, according to Mirror Business.
The SLTDA data revealed that tourist arrivals picked up in December as they increased to 244,536 in 2017 from 224,791 in 2016, representing an 8.8 percent growth.
India was again the top source market for tourists as 384,628 people arrived from this country – an increase of 7.8 percent over 2016. Following it were China with 268,952 arrivals and the UK with 201,879 arrivals.
Of the total number of arrivals in the country, formerly known as Ceylon, 2,085,272 reached the country via Bandaranaike International Airport, while 14, 099 disembarked at Galle harbour and 10,569 at Colombo harbour, besides 977 at the other ports of entry, data from the Department of Immigration and Emigration revealed.