India has been Sri Lanka’s top source for tourist arrivals during the month of May followed by China, according to a report released here today. The top five tourist arrival sources were India, China, the UK, Germany, and France which accounted for 51.4 per cent of total tourist arrivals during this period, said the report released by the Central Bank. The report, however, said that during the month the number of arrivals overall had declined by 2.5 per cent year on year. Despite the slump in May, the cumulative tourist arrivals had grown by 4.8 per cent to 887,093 during the first five months of 2017 compared to the corresponding period in 2016.
Following the same trend in tourist arrivals, earnings from tourism also declined during May 2017 to USD 209.1 million, the report said. However, on a cumulative basis, earnings from tourism increased by 4.8 per cent to USD 1,521.9 million during the first five months of 2017. Due to the adverse economic and geopolitical conditions prevailing in the Middle Eastern region, workers’ remittances declined for the third consecutive month in May 2017, it said. The remittances at USD 575.4 million in May declined by 3.7 per cent on a year-on-year basis.
Sri Lanka’s gross official reserves increased to USD 6.8 billion by end May 2017, it said. The gross official reserves were equivalent to 4.0 months of imports, while total foreign assets at USD 8.9 billion were equivalent to 5.2 months of imports, the report said. The rupee has recorded a depreciation of 8 per cent against the Indian rupee while recording a 2.6 per cent slump against the US dollar from end 2016 up to July 31, 2017, the bank said. Sri Lanka, known for its verdant natural beauty, is growing as a tourist destination for all seasons.