Significant increase of holiday makers recorded in the month of March 2012 in the south Asian island of Sri Lanka. Tourism upbeat was mainly contributed by Western European countries, the arrivals increased by over 35%.
The single most important country for Sri Lanka tourism is India and arrival from Indian has marginally increased while arrivals from other South Asian countries declined for the corresponding period. According to the data issued by the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority number of arrival in March 2012 recorded 91,102 compared to the arrivals 75,130 in March 2011.
Overall, 21% increase recorded in tourist arrivals in March compared to the same period in 2011. The number of tourist arrival in the first quarter of 2012 recorded 260,525 which is significant increase compared to the 215,124 arrival for the same period in 2011. The total number of holiday makers from western countries recorded 40,686 which is 35.6% increase, making European countries most important contributor for the industry in the month of March 2012.
Most number of visitors came from England which is 12,032 and they have arrived during the Sri Lanka-England Test series. Holiday makers from Indian have increased by 2.1 percent for the March 2011.
With the ending of civil war in 2009 Sri Lanka has seen a sharp increase of holiday makers in the island. Number of tourists increased every year for the last 3 years and it was recorded as 800,000 in 2011. The tourist authorities of Sri Lanka expect one million tourists in this year.
There are various programs were launched to developed the tourism industry and a five year plan was launched by the Sri Lanka Tourist board with the help of Economic Development Minister. The plan will increase number of tourists dramatically and officials expect 2.5 million tourists and 2.75 billion dollars revenue by 2016.
In parallel to the increasing number of arrival the program aims to improve the tourism infrastructure in the island, specially the room capacity. Today the room capacity in the island estimated to be around 15,000 and government is aiming to triple the existing room capacity by 2016 to meet the demand. According to the central bank of Sri Lanka tourism has become an important contributor for the foreign exchange earnings in the island.
The tourist arrival in March 2012 shows a significant increase compared to the last year. According to the information issued by the government, the number of tourists is increasing every month.
The following table shows tourist arrivals in Sri Lanka:
2012 2011 Change (In %)
March 91,102 75,130 21.3
Jan-March 260,525 215,124 21.1
Jan-Dec 855,975 30.8
The Sri Lanka Tourist Board expect 950,000 tourists in 2012 and expected revenue from the industry is more than one billion US$ and it is more than 20% of the previous year revenue.
Even though the tourism was not very significant for the country during the war today it has become an important contributor for the GDP. Tourism earns $59 billion foreign exchange for the country’s economy with foreign remittance of expatriate workers, garments and tea.
India and Sri Lanka exchange more flights
Indian base budget airline Spicejet will start international flights between India and Sri Lanka; the flights will be operated from Madurai to Colombo. Spicejet will be the first carrier that flies to a destination outside of India. The Budget carries has given the green light from the authority to operate flights connecting India and Sri Lanka.
The Madurai airport has been upgraded to an international airport recently and Colombo, Sri Lanka will be the first international airport to get flights after the elevation. With international flight operation between India and Sri Lanka, Madurai will become the 3rd international airport to operate international flights from South India.