Sri Lanka records slight decline in tourists in February

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Tourist arrivals to Sri Lanka recorded a slight decline in February with 197,517 tourists arriving through the month, official statistics show.

In January, a record-breaking 219,360 tourists arrived in the island, recording a 12.9 percent growth in comparison to the same period last year.

Officials from the tourism industry said that the decline is a result of the partial closure of the country’s main international airport which is renovating its runway from January to April.

Globally in February, India recorded 26,320 foreign tourists, the highest number, followed by China with 25,248.

The United Kingdom recorded 20,218 tourists followed by Germany which recorded 14,712 and France 13,909.

Tourism Minister John Amaratunga voiced concerns last month that the partial closure of the airport may lead to a drop in tourist arrivals this year and had urged authorities to look into the issue.

Amaratunga said that the tourism ministry had set a target of 2.5 million tourists in 2017 as the island nation was becoming a popular tourist destination.


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