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* Sri Lanka tourist arrivals hit a record high in December surpassing a million for 2012
Tue, Jan 22, 2013, 12:13 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Jan 22, Colombo: Sri Lanka's tourist arrivals rose 25.4 percent to a record high in December last year compared to the same period in 2011, the data released by the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) today showed.

The month of December 2012 recorded 122,252 tourists arriving in the country compared to the 97,517 arrived in December 2011.

Surpassing a million, total arrivals during the last year increased 17.5 percent to 1,005,605 from the 855,975 arrived in 2011.

Arrivals from North America rose 20.7 percent to 59,236 in 2012 with visitors from the U.S. rising 22.6 percent to 29,907.

Tourist arrivals from Western Europe reached 373,063 during 2012, an 18.4 percent increase from 2011.

Arrivals from Eastern Europe increased 43.6 percent from January through December 2012 with the arrival of 72,401 tourists.

Tourist arrivals from Middle East however declined marginally by 0.3 percent to 56,169 in 2012 while arrivals from East Asia increased 38 percent to 132,730, mainly contributed by the arrivals from China which accounted for 58.1 percent of the total arrivals from the region.

Arrivals from South Asia for 2012 increased only moderately by 4.2 percent. Out of the 247,559 arrived from the region, 176,340 were from India. Tourist arrivals from Pakistan, however, increased by 9.0 percent in the year.

Arrivals from Australia and New Zealand increased by 24.3 percent in 2012.

Sri Lanka fulfilled its target of one million tourist arrivals last year and earned over US$ 1 billion compared to the US$ 830.3 million earned in 2011.

Since the end of the war against the Tamil Tiger terrorists in May 2009, the country has seen tourist arrivals increasing steadily every year for the past three years.

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