- Arrivals from Asian giant up 136% to 128,166, share of total doubles to 8%
- Strong performance in December keeps UK as second biggest market with 144,168 arrivals
- Western Europe remains largest source market with 31% share
- Sri Lanka ends 2014 with 20% growth in arrivals to 1.527 million
- Earnings estimated to have risen by 35% to $ 2.3 billion
Overall arrivals in 2014 were up by 19.8% to 1.527 million, an all-time record. The double digit growth last year comes on top of a 16% improvement in 2013 over 2012, a development directly linked to the end of war phenomena.
December also produced a record arrival of 178,672 up 16% from a year earlier, which was the previous best of 154,000. The Central Bank on Friday said earnings from tourism were estimated to have grown by 35% to $ 2.3 billion in 2014.
China is the rising star with arrivals in 2014 up by whopping 136% to 128,166. The Asian giant accounted for 8% of total arrivals, doubling its share from 2013. China would have risen to number two position displacing the traditional market UK if not for robust arrivals from the European nation in December.
As per data released by Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority yesterday, the UK produced a strong 16,000 arrivals in December (up 5%) thereby increasing its lead and total to 144,168, also up by 5% in comparison to 2013.
The difference in arrivals as at end November between UK and China was only 10,000 but in December the gap widened to 16,000 as UK arrivals grew higher as against Chinese. In November, UK arrivals amounted to 10,739 and arrivals from China were 10,878. The average of 10,000 was maintained by China in December but the UK raced up.
India retained its top place with 242,734 arrivals, up by a healthy 16%. Arrivals from Germany rose by 20% to 103,000, from France by 22% to 78,883 whilst Russian arrivals grew by 36% to 69,718 and was ranked seventh.
The Japanese market remained robust too, accounting for over 39,000 arrivals, up by 31% from 2013.
Western Europe maintained its importance as the biggest source region with 479,007 arrivals up by 14%. East Asia produced 53% growth in arrivals to 280,511 thanks to China’s performance.
South Asia remained the second largest region for inbound tourists with 370,299 up 13% whilst Eastern Europe accounted for 154,153 tourist arrivals up by 22.6%. The Middle East, which was once an emerging star, saw moderate yet 10% growth with 89,000 arrivals.