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Sri Lanka tourist arrivals fall 22.5-pct in Oct, growth in Russian market

Tourism is the third highest source of foreign exchange for Sri Lanka, but the industry has faced a downturn following the Easter Sunday terror attacks.

ECONOMYNEXT- Tourist arrivals to Sri Lanka fell 22.5 percent in October 2018 from a year earlier to 118,743 persons, as the country continued to suffer from the aftermath of the Easter Sunday terror attacks, official tourism data showed.

However, the October fall was an improvement from the 27.2 percent fall in September, continuing a 6-month recovery streak, Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) data showed.

Arrivals have been recovering on the back of positive coverage from global travel publications, fast withdrawal of travel advisories and Sri Lankan hotels slashing prices to make the country attractive.

Leading tour and hotel firms have said that arrivals are recovering mainly through independent travellers and budget tourists, while group bookings via travel agencies continues to suffer.

SLTDA data showed 33,217 Indian holidaymakers arrived in the island in October, which was a 13 percent fall from a year earlier.

Arrivals from China fell 38.1 percent to 11,683 tourists. British arrivals were down 50.4 percent to 8,763 tourists, while German arrivals fell 21.2 percent to 7,820 visitors.

Russia was the only top 10 source country in which a growth was recorded. SLTDA reported 5,761 Russian holidaymakers arriving in the island, a growth of 86 percent.

Arrivals from Australia fell 19.5 percent to 5,562 tourists.

For the first 10 months of the year, 1.5 million holidaymakers have visited Sri Lanka, which is a 20.7 percent fall from 2018.

Sri Lanka Tourism Promotions Bureau Chairman Kishu Gomes said the state is estimating the deficit to remain around the same levels for 2019, with 1.9 million tourists expected for the year.





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