Mar 05, Colombo: The number of international tourist arrivals to Sri Lanka declined for the eleventh straight month in February 2020 by 17.7 percent in comparison to a year ago as the tourism industry is hit by the coronavirus outbreak, heavily limiting the arrival of Chinese tourists.
The total number of international tourist arrivals to Sri Lanka during February 2020 was 207,507. In comparison to February last year, there was a decline of 17.7 % when the arrivals were 252,033.
According to the Monthly Tourist Arrivals Report released by the Sri Lanka Tourist Development Authority for February 2020, the largest source market for tourists was India, followed by the United Kingdom and Russian Federation.
Europe became the largest source of tourist traffic to Sri Lanka with 60.1 % of the total traffic received in February 2020. Asia and Pacific accounted for 31.2% of the total traffic, Americas 6.9%, Middle East 1.2% and Africa 0.6%.
In comparison to February last year the highest decline of 32.3% was recorded for Middle East region while Asia and Pacific recorded a decline of 31.3%. Americas recorded a decline of 16.2 % whereas Europe recorded a decline of 8.2%. It is noteworthy that all regions have recorded a decline in arrivals.
The SLTDA attributed the decline to the outbreak of the COVID -19 coupled with the effects of Easter Sunday attacks last year.
However, arrivals from Russian Federation has recorded an increase of 61% in comparison to February 2019. In contrast, tourist arrivals from China has recorded a decline of 92.5% in comparison to February 2019.
India, United Kingdom, Russian Federation, Germany and France were Sri Lanka’s top five international tourist generating markets in the month of February this year.
India was the largest source of tourist traffic to Sri Lanka with 17% of the total traffic received in February 2020. United Kingdom accounted for 12.7% of the total traffic; while Russian Federation, Germany and France accounted for 10.1%, 7.9% and 5.5% respectively.
China has been dropped from the top ten tourist generating markets of Sri Lanka for the first time since 2012.