Sri Lanka’s first quarter tourist arrivals drop

Colombo, May 8 (IANS) The first quarter results of tourism for the year show the lowest quarterly growth since 2011, bringing in a total of 288,798 tourists to Sri Lanka, latest data showed here Wednesday.

The industry is seen losing its momentum, showing low percentage growth for the quarter as well as the lowest growth rate for a month recorded since 2011 for the month of March, statistics released by the Sri Lanka Development Authority (SLDA) showed.

Since the end of the three-decade-long war in 2009, Sri Lanka’s tourism industry has boomed attracting over one million tourists in 2012, reported Xinhua.

However, March 2013 showed only a 7.7 percent growth compared to the same period last year, bringing in 98,155 tourists to the country.

The previous record holder for the lowest percentage growth in a month was July in 2012 at 7.8 percent.

In 2011, the month of March showed a 43.5 percent growth while in 2012 the growth was 21.3 percent.

Regionally, the first three months of the year drew the largest proportion of tourists from western Europe (129,127 with a 12.6 percent growth) followed by South Asia with 57,349 tourists and a 3.6 percent growth from the same period last year.

Several countries recorded negative growth during this period from the Asian region, including India, which showed a 4.4 percent decrease.

Q1 results in 2012 showed a 21.1 percent increase over 2011, while 2011 Q1 growth was 34.1 percent.

The Sri Lankan government has set a target of 1.25 million tourists for 2013 as part of a strategy to attract 2.6 million tourists by 2016.

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