Sri Lanka Tourist arrivals up 6.6-pct in January 2015

COLOMBO (EconomyNext) – Tourist arrivals into Sri Lanka rose 6.6 percent from a year earlier to 156,246 in January 2015, helped by India but dampened by elections and plunging arrivals from Russia and Ukraine, official data showed.

Visitors from India surged 28.3 percent to 22,944 in January 2015 from a year earlier recording one of strongest monthly gains seen in several years.

Arrivals from Russia fell 13.6 percent to 9,240 and from Ukraine to 48.4 percent. Visitors from nearby Poland also fell 17.6 percent to 1,808.

Ukraine’s currency plunged last year as Russia annexed part of its territory kindled a proxy war and cut off oil supplies, and the Russian Rouble also fell this year as oil revenues fell amid a stronger dollar and its central bank printed money.

Visitors from East Asia grew only 1.5 percent to 26,198 in January helped by an 8.9 percent growth to 11,735 from China, which was the third largest generating market in the month.

Japan also grew 9.9 percent to 3,140. But visitors from Malaysia fell 26.7 percent to 1,501 and those from Singapore fell 24.2 percent to 903.

Western European arrivals grew 11.1 percent to 51,459 with UK growing 4.0 percent to 13,410 and Germany growing by a stronger 12.6 percent to 10,375.

January is part of the European winter season which saw strong double digit growth last year, but Sri Lanka tourist arrival tapered off after October 2014 when presidential elections were declared.