The First Quarter 2019

Sri Lanka Tourist Arrivals in Q1 2019: 740,600

  • Up 4.6% from 2017
  • Up 76% from 2014

Significant Increases from Key Source Countries

The top ten source markets have, in most cases, seen strong growth compared to the first quarter of 2018.

Arrivals from four of the top ten source markets have grown by almost a quarter compared to Q1 last year. The USA leads with a 30% increase in visitor numbers to 30,000, with Australia increasing 27%, Russia 24%, and Canada 24%.

Visitor numbers from the UK, Sri Lanka’s second largest source market so far in 2019, have grown by a solid 10.8 percent to 85,000. Arrival numbers from the UK increased 23 percent over twelve months in 2018 compared 2017.

India remains the largest source market for Sri Lankan arrivals with a steady growth rate of 5.6 percent compared to 2018 levels.

However, two key European markets have recorded a decline. Visitor numbers from Germany are down 13 percent to 49,000, and arrivals from France down 1.7% to 43,000.

Arrivals from China are also down 3.8 percent, continuing a downward trend that saw a decrease of 4.9 percent year-on-year in visitor numbers in 2018, compared to 2017.

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Americas Region Gaining Ground, Middle East Declining

As expected, arrivals from Europe and the Asia Pacific Region continued to dominate in Q1. During the first quarter of 2019, European visitors accounted for 51 percent of the total, with the Asia Pacific Region at 40 percent.

The number of visitor arrivals for both these regions increased slightly from 2018 levels, with Europe up 4 percent and Asia Pacific up 3 percent compared to Q1 2018.

The Americas region has seen a noticeable growth in arrival numbers. In Q1 2018, the region represented 5.8 percent of total arrivals to Sri Lanka; in Q1 2019, this has increased to 7 percent of total arrivals. Actual visitor numbers are up almost 11,000 over 2018 levels. In the Q1 period, Americas arrivals have increased by 26 percent from 41,000 in Q1 2018 to 51,500 in Q1 2019.

Arrivals from the Middle East have declined. In the first three months of 2018, the Middle East region made up 2.2 percent of total arrival numbers to Sri Lanka. In the same period in 2019, this declined to 1.8 percent. This represents a fall in visitor numbers from the region of 18%, down from almost 16,000 in Q1 2018 to 13,000 this year.

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Hospitality Insider Issue 4