The number of tourist arrivals during the first three months this year increased 3.4 percent to 604,953 compared to 584,818 in the corresponding period last year, Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority statistics reveal.
The number of visitors rose 12.9 percent to 219,360 in January this year, the highest tourist arrival month so far in the year compared to 194,280 in the corresponding month last year.
China, India, UK, Germany, France, Russia, Australia, USA, Ukraine and the Maldives were the top ten countries, while Western Europe, East Asia and South Asia were the top regions contributing 72,500, 48,773 and 41,470 visitors during the first month this year.
As a percentage, the Caribbean region dominated the arrivals figures among the regions during the first month this year with 39.0 percent, followed by East Asia 25.7 percent, Eastern Europe 16.7 percent and Australia 15.6 percent.
The least number of visitors were recorded from the UAE - 310, South Africa - 480, Kuwait - 605, Thailand - 703 and New Zealand - 812 in the first month of this year. The tourism industry targets 2.5 million visitors by the end of this year.
However, the number of visitors dropped by 0.1 percent in February and 2.5 percent in March this year to 197,517 and 188,076 compared 197,697 and 192,841 recorded during the second and third months of last year.
The number of tourists arrivals recorded a year on year growth of 14 percent to 2,050,832 in 2016 over 1,798,380 recorded in the previous year.
However, the revised target for the year was 2.2 million from the original target of 2.5 million visitors.
Revenue from the industry increased to USD 3.5 billion from USD 2.8 billion in the previous year. -LF