Sri Lanka tourist arrivals up 16.8-pct in Nov with Barmy Army, Indians

ECONOMYNEXT – Tourist arrivals to Sri Lanka in November 2018 grew 16.8 percent from a year earlier to 195,582 despite an ongoing political crisis, with strong growth from India and the UK, official data showed.

Arrivals from the United Kingdom grew 61.1 percent to 21,971 tourists, overtaking the Chinese market, which fell 1.8 percent to 18,888 tourists, data from the Sri Lanka tourism promotion office said.

Sri Lanka had a cricket series with England, with the so-called Barmy Army travelling with the team, which helps boost arrivals.

About 20 percent of the tourists came from India, with arrivals growing 21.4 percent from a year earlier to 39,137.

A falling Indian rupee tends to make travel to countries with better central banks more expensive, but Sri Lanka’s rupee has fallen faster than the Indian rupee making Sri Lanka cheaper.

At independence from Britain, both India and Sri Lanka’s rupee were at 4.76 to the US dollar. Sincen the Reserve Bank of India has taken to the rupee to about 70 to the US dollar and Sri Lanka’s Central Bank has taken it to 180 to the US dollar, with policy worsening over the last three years.

Before independece India’s rupee was pegged to specie (silver and gold) and Sri Lanka had a currency board keeping 1 to 1 parity with the Indian rupee.

German arrivals grew 89.6 percent to 18,754 tourists, with a sixth of them coming on cruise ships.

With better air connectivity, Australia jumped up to the top 5 markets for Sri Lanka tourism, overtaking Russia and the Maldives. Arrivals from Australia grew 51.9 percent to 10,299 tourists.

By region, 47 percent of the tourists came from Asia and Pacific, while 43 percent came from Europe in November.





The 11 months to November saw arrivals grow 11.2 percent to 2.08 million tourists.

India, China, United Kingdom, Germany and Australia made up the top five markets during the 11 months as well.

Industry stakeholders have said that so far, only the MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions) market has been affected by the ongoing constitutional crisis, with some cancellations and postponements.

However, they say that forward bookings growth overall has been slower up to April.

President Maithripala Sirisena is set to address tourism stakeholders at the Sri Lanka Tourism Awards tonight, after throwing the country into crisis in October. (Colombo/Dec06/2018)

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