Pinnawala Elephant Sanctuary

What tourists do in Sri Lanka – results form a survey

Following are the major attractions and activities of Tourists to Sri Lanka, based on a Survey conducted by Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority from September 2008 to February 2009.

Where tourists Visit?

The most popular place of attraction within Sri Lanka based on responses from Tourists was Colombo City (65%). Other places in order of popularity were Kandy (65%), South/West Coast Beaches (48%), Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage (37 %), Sigiriya (37%), Dambulla (32%) and the Hill Country (30%).

Activities and Attractions – What Tourists do?

The most outstanding tourist attraction of the country was `friendly and nice people`.

Site seeing and excursions were the most popular activities engaged by 58 per cent of the tourists. Sea bathing (53%), sun bathing (52%), shopping (52 per cent) swimming in the pool (51%) were the other popular activities engaged in.

Around 75 per cent had engaged in shopping while in Sri Lanka. A large percentage (98 per cent) of those who engaged in shopping was satisfied with their purchases.

Almost 31 per cent of tourists had used guide services during their stay in Sri Lanka.

Yala National Park was the most visited National Park which was 57 per cent.

Sri Lankan leopard (Panthera pardus kotiya),Yala National Park,Sri Lanka
Sri Lankan leopard (Panthera pardus kotiya)  at Yala National Park,Sri Lanka

Elephant was rated as the star of Sri Lanka’s wild life by nearly, 62 per cent respondents were interested in Elephants in Sri Lanka. While 11 per cent were interested in Birds.

This survey was conducted among departing foreign tourists at the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) during the period from September 2008 to February 2009. 3013 tourists and 1433 transit passengers were met through direct interviews. The population was broadly stratified into 11 market groups i.e. UK, India, Middle East, Germany, France, China, Japan, Russia, Benelux, Italy and Scandinavia by taking consideration of their country of residence.

2015 Tourist Arrivals Data

Statistics released by Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) shows that nearly 1.8 million tourists visited the island in 2015.

According to SLTDA figures, Sri Lanka’s tourist arrivals rose 15.4 percent in December last year compared to the same period in 2014 with the arrival of 206,114 tourists compared to the 178,672 arrived in December 2014.

Tourist arrivals by Country

  • Western Europe – UK, Germany, France etc.
  • North America – USA, C
  • Middle East
  • East Asia – China
  • South Asia – India
  • Australia

Most of the tourist arrivals were from Western Europe with 552,442 tourists visiting in 2015 recording a 15.3 percent increase over corresponding 2014 figures.

Arrivals from North America rose by 16.9 percent with 84,943 visitors in 2015.

Tourist arrivals from Eastern Europe declined in 2015 by 3.7 percent with the arrival of 148,458 visitors as arrivals from Russia declined by 11.3 percent due to the devaluation of the ruble and arrivals from Ukraine dropped by 20.2 percent.

Tourist arrivals from Middle East increased in the year by 13.6 percent with the arrival of 101,066 visitors.

362,857 East Asians arrived in the island, recording an increase of 29.4 percent. Number of Chinese tourists arriving in the island rose by 67.6 percent to reach 214,783. In December alone tourists arrivals from China increased by 52.3 percent with 15,843 Chinese tourists visiting the island.

Arrivals from South Asia, the other region from where most of the tourists come, increased by 24.1 percent to record 459,415 arrivals. Indian tourists contributed the most with 316,247 Indians visiting the country recording a 30.3 percent increase in numbers.

In the past year, 71,672 Australians arrived in the country, a 9.8 percent increase from the previous year.

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