Oct 24, Colombo: Sri Lanka's tourist arrivals rose 18.1 percent in September this year compared to the same period last year, the data released by the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) Tuesday showed.
The month recorded 71,111 tourists arriving in the country compared to the 60,219 arrived in September 2011.
Arrivals during the first nine months of the year increased 16 percent to 693,772 from the 598,006 arrived in the same period last year.
Arrivals from North America rose 29.9 percent to 3,358 in September with Canada rising 23.7 percent to 1,490 and USA rising 35.3 percent to 1,868. For the first nine months of 2012, North American arrival rose by 18.7 percent to 42,737.
Tourist arrivals from Western Europe reached 269,169 during the first nine months of 2012, a 18.6 percent increase from the 226,990 tourists arrived in the same period of last year. Arrivals for September increased 15.1 percent from 19,394 in 2011 to 22,327 this year.
Arrivals from Eastern Europe increased 52.0 percent from January through September 2012 with the arrival of 43,039 tourists.
Tourist arrivals from Middle East declined 4.5 percent from 40,517 to 38,711 during the first nine months.
Arrivals from South Asia for this year increased only moderately. In the first nine months 169,927 arrived from South Asia, a 3.1 percent increase from the same period in previous year. Of the 20,028 arrived in September 2012, a majority, 13,888 were from India.
Sri Lanka targets one million tourist arrivals this year. SLTDA statistics have recorded 855,975 tourist arrivals in 2011 compared to the 654,476 arrived in 2010.
Since the end of the war against the Tamil Tiger terrorists in May 2009, the country has seen increasing tourist arrivals every year for the past three years.