In August 2019, a total of 143,587 international tourists arrived in Sri Lanka. This is down 28.3% compared to August last year, when arrival numbers just topped 200,000.
The year on year decline of 28% in August follows the trend seen in July where arrival numbers are slowly but surely picking up again. May saw a YoY decline of 71% followed by 57% in June 57% and 47% in July.
Total arrivals year to date are 1.26 million, down 19.9% vs the first eight months of last year. Officials are expecting around 2.1 million arrivals by the end of 2019, down from 2.33 in 2018.
In July the Europe region accounted for 50% of arrivals however in August this dropped back to 38%. Asia and Pacific accounted for 51% of arrivals. Americas, Middle East and Africa remained steady.
India tourists boost numbers
India continues as Sri Lanka’s top source country with 37,568 arrivals. This is 26% of the total tourist arrivals in August and almost double the number of Indian tourists who arrived in July. It is also a year on year increase of 17%, with over 5,000 more tourists visiting in August 2019 that August 2018.
The UK continued as the second largest source country with 14,132 arrivals. This is down 40% year on year, an increase versus the 50% decline in numbers seen in July.
The third largest source market in August was China with 9,503 tourist arrivals. The Chinese market has been particularly slow to recover from the effects of Easter Sunday. In July year on year arrivals from China were down 75%, in August this figure is still high at 64%.
Of the top ten source markets, the United States is only other country whose arrivals are up year on year. In August 2019 6.3% more Americans arrived compared to 2018, a total of 4,686, making the US the 8th largest source country.