An intensified marketing campaign from Sri Lanka Tourism and the peaceful environment in the country has contributed to large increases in tourist arrivals over the past few months. According to the latest statistics, tourist arrivals to Sri Lanka improved by 57.3% year on year in March 2010 to 52,352 while the first quarter cumulative arrivals for the year are up 50.3% to 160,409 compared to the same period last year.
Managing Director of the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB) Dileep Mudadeniya said the increase in the number of tourist arrivals can be attributed to the prevailing peace in the island and the aggressive promotional campaign launched by Sri Lanka Tourism since October 2009.
Speaking to the Business Times this week, he said the intensified marketing campaign on international networks such as CNN, BBC and Al Jazeera have increased arrivals from all markets, particularly the European and Indian markets. Surveys conducted on the impact of the campaign shows that it has influenced travellers to visit Sri Lanka, particularly since social network sites such as Facebook and Twitter were also involved.
Mr. Mudadeniya added that the challenge is now to continue growth. The SLTPB has had positive feedback from hoteliers around the island over the past few months. With the tourist off-season starting this month and going into June, the off-season strategy is to target non-traditional markets such as Spain, Netherlands, Malaysia China and the Middle East.
Statistics show there was a 95% increase in tourists from the United States and Canada to 3,417 in March 2010 compared to March 2009 while tourist arrivals from the Western European market which includes the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Norway and Spain amongst other countries increased by 48.6% to 21,979. Tourist arrivals from the Middle East increased by 138% to 2,928 in March 2010 while Indian tourist arrivals increased by 72.1% to 8,607 during the same period.