April Arrivals Down 7.5%

Impact of Easter felt with decline in most major source markets.

Tourist arrivals declined by 7.5 percent versus April 2018 SLTDA data shows.

In April 2018 180,429 tourists travelled to Sri Lanka, this year arrivals only reached 166,975.

The industry is experiencing a steep decline in the number of tourists visiting Sri Lanka with travel advisories from 37 countries issued, ranging from “of concern”, to “essential travel only” to “do not travel”. 

Sri Lanka’s top three source markets for tourists, India, China and the UK make up 40 percent of annual arrivals. Due to the terrorist attacks, India and the UK advised citizens against all non-essential travel and China issued a do not travel advisory.

The decline in visitors of 7.5 percent in April 2019 only captures part of the impact as the attacks took place on 21st of the month. Early estimates for May show around 1,700 tourists arriving per day, equivalent to a 60 percent decline vs May 2018.

May and June are traditionally have the lowest numbers of visitor arrivals for the year, averaging 124,000 since 2015.


Regional Tourist Arrivals

Europe became the largest source region, providing 87,532 visitors, just over half the tourist arrivals in April 2019. Asia & Pacific declined slightly to 38% from 40% in March, a total of 63,753 tourist arrivals. The Americas region also declined from 8% in March to 6% in April.

Tourist Arrivals by Region (% of total arrivals)

  • Europe – 52%
  • Asia & Pacific – 38%
  • America – 6%
  • Middle East – 3%
  • Africa – 1%


Top Ten Source Markets

Almost all major source markets saw a decline in tourist arrivals.

Visitor numbers from the UK were down 5.2% to 24,718. Despite this, the UK moved into top place as the largest source market in April. Arrivals from India saw a heavy decline, down 21.5% to 23,431. Arrivals from China were down 18.3% to 14,263.

Two major markets recorded growth despite the attacks, perhaps due to strong performance in the earlier part of the month. Arrivals from Germany were up 56.7% to 16,930, making it the third largest source market. Arrivals from France were up 23.4% to 9,148.


Top Ten Source Markets (% of total arrivals)

  1. United Kingdom – 15%
  2. India – 14%
  3. Germany – 10%
  4. China – 8%
  5. Australia – 6%
  6. France – 5%
  7. United States – 3%
  8. Maldives – 3%
  9. Switzerland – 3%
  10. Canada – 2%

Hospitality Insider Issue 4