3 KEY QUESTIONS ANSWERED BY THE SLTDA’S LONG-AWAITED 2017 ANNUAL REPORT
Where did they come from?
Western Europe continued to be the largest market by regional tourist arrivals in 2017 at 32.2%. However, this represents only a slight increase from 31.4% in 2016. Arrivals from Southeast Asia increased by the highest percentage, from 4% to 5.3%. Australasia and North America also increased their market shares from 4.1% to 4.3% and 4.8% to 4.9%, respectively. Meanwhile, shares in other markets decreased, with the Middle East falling from 5.2% to 4.5%.
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What did they come for?
While slightly lower than 2016, the vast majority of visitors continued to come to Sri Lanka for pleasure. The largest proportion of these came from Western Europe, followed by South Asia and Southeast Asia. The number of visitors traveling for Business increased from 1.8% in 2016 to 3.3% in 2017. Of these, more than half (59.9%) were from South Asia. Visitors for Conventions & Meetings, Sports and Education also increased, while other purposes, including visiting friends & relatives and health decreased.
Where did they stay?
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Colombo and the South Coast led the way for both local and foreign guests. For foreign visitors, 38.1% of the guest nights were spent in the Colombo city area and its environs, closely followed by the South Coast at 36%. Together, these two regions accounted for almost 75% of foreign guest nights. Ancient Cities accounted for 16.3% ,while the Hill Country was 5.4%. The distribution was different for local guest nights where the South Coast came in on top at 31.7%. Next popular was Colombo city & Greater Colombo at 27.2%, and Ancient Cities at 24%. The Northern region accounted for just over
0.5% of local and 0.3% of foreign guest nights. Figures were higher for the East Coast at 3.8% of foreign guest nights and 1% of local guest nights. Of the number of nights visitors spent in accommodation facilities registered with the SLTDA throughout the island, the total number of foreign guest nights increased by 11.2% to 17.8 million, while local guests recorded 2.7 million nights, an increase of 7.3%.