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Sri Lanka tourist arrivals up 3.2-pct in 2017, sharply short of target

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s tourist arrivals grew 3.2 percent to 2,116,407 million in 2017, falling sharply short of a 2.5 million target announced by Tourism Minister John Amaratunga, for the second year in a row.

Sri Lanka also failed to reach a 2.2 million target, which Minister Amaratunga said will be comfortably exceeded to 2.5 million in 2016.

The tourism ministry blamed the closure of the main airport for repairs (which was known before the target was set), a countrywide dengue epidemic and floods in the South for the anaemic growth.

But Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority data said December arrivals grew 8.8 percent to 244,536 from 224,791 in 2016, the ministry said.

India continued to be the top source market with 384,628 arrivals up 7.8 percent.

Chinese arrivals had fallen 1 percent to 268,952. UK was up 7.3 percent to 201,879.

The Katunayake airport was the entry point for 2,085,272 tourists, while 5,491 landed in Mattala, 10,569, entered from Colombo Harbour, 14,099 from Galle Harbour and 976 at other ports. (Colombo/Dec05/2018)

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