July Arrivals Reach 115,000

Significant increase in European visitors

In July 2019, 115,701 international tourists arrived in Sri Lanka. This is down 47% compared to July last year, when arrival numbers reached 217,829.

Despite the drop, when viewed in the context of the last three months, the figures appear more promising. May saw a YoY decline of 71% and June 57%. Slowly but steadily the international tourist arrival numbers are climbing.

The arrival numbers in July are an 83 per cent increase on the number of international arrivals in June 2019.

Arrival numbers increased by an average of 800 per day in July, from 3,319 arrivals per day in the first week of July, to 3,959 in the last week of the month.

Since the travel advisories have been relaxed or lifted, international visitors have felt more comfortable in returning. Travel agents are reporting an increase of interest in Sri Lanka and an uptick in bookings, particularly towards the end of the year.

Tourist arrivals year to date are now at 1.28 million. Officials say they are expecting to reach 2.1 million by the end of 2019.

The public relations and advertising campaign for Sri Lanka has yet to be launched, however, promotions encourage visitors from India have taken place. From 1 August the visa on arrival scheme for 48 countries has been implemented for six months, aiming to pull in more travellers.

Regionally, arrivals from Europe increased 185% month on month to 57,668 visitors. The Europe region accounted for 50% of total arrivals, up from 30% in May and June. Asia & Pacific arrivals increased by 30% to 44,341.

The Middle East accounted for 5% of total arrivals in July, Americas 6% and Africa 1%.

Significant increases from Europe

India continues as Sri Lanka’s top source country with 18,309 arrivals, 16% of the total. 22% more Indians visited Sri Lanka in July than in June.

The UK was the second largest source country with 13,010 arrivals. This is down almost 50% year on year however, arrivals from the UK and other European countries have increased significantly month on month.

UK arrivals trebled in July to 13,010, versus 4,365 in June. Arrivals from Switzerland were up 320%, from France up 260%, Germany up 153% and the Netherlands up a huge 817%. Arrivals from China, normally in the top 3, doubled to 6,926 in July but are still down 75% year on year.

Top Ten Source Markets in July

  • India 16%
  • UK 11%
  • Germany 7%
  • France 6%
  • China 6%
  • Netherlands 6%
  • Australia 5%
  • Maldives 3%
  • Canada 3%
  • Switzerland 3%


Hospitality Insider Issue 4