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* Sri Lanka tourist arrivals records slowest growth in November
Tue, Dec 24, 2013, 12:40 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Dec 24, Colombo: Sri Lanka's tourist arrivals for the month of November recorded the slowest growth since the end of the war in 2009, rising only 2.8 percent compared to the same period last year.

The month recorded 112,213 tourists arriving in the country compared to the 109,202 arrived in November 2012.

Tourist arrivals recorded a 15.0 percent increase in the first eleven months of this year with 1,016,228 tourists arriving in the island compared to the 883,353 arrived in the same period last year.

Arrivals from North America declined by 21 percent for the month of November but increased by 16.9 for the year with the arrival of 30,692 visitors.

Arrivals from Western Europe declined 2.2 percent in November 2013 while for the year increased by 12.8 percent with the arrival of 371,610 tourists.

Arrivals from Eastern Europe however, increased 29.7 percent with the arrival of 81,054 tourists for the year while 16,791 tourists arrived in November, a 35.3 percent increase compared to Novemner 2012. Arrivals from Russia jumped 49.8 percent in November while arrivals from other countries in the region increased by 47.5 percent.

Tourist arrivals from Middle East dropped in November by 44.8 percent to 3,395 while for the year arrivals increased by 5.1 percent.

Up to November 2013 142,148 East Asians arrived in the island, an increase of 22.9 percent with China recording a 81.6 percent increase in the year. For the month of November however, only 2.8 percent more East Asians visited the country than same period last year.

Arrivals from South Asia increased by 16.6 percent with 256,746 tourists visiting the island so far in the year while for the month arrivals increased by 16.5 percent.

The lowest growth observed in the month of November during which Sri Lanka held the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) could be attributed to the government restricting other international events during the month in preparation for the arrivals of world leaders.

The Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority in July this year downgraded the target number of arrivals for 2013 from an original estimate of 1.25 million to 1.1 million. Sri Lanka now has to attract over 83,000 tourists in December to meet this year's target.

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