The winter season has always been a great time for Sri Lanka tourism with tourists ranging between 200,000 and 250,000 visiting the country and the performance of the industry has been exceptionally good since the end of the conflict in 2009, said Head of Brand Marketing, Cinnamon Hotels and Resorts and Vice President, John Keells Group, Dileep Mudadeniya.

He said the high tourist arrival trend has been continuing during the past 10 years with the peak months in arrivals from December to February contributing a major share to the overall arrivals and revenue of the industry.The Western market dominates arrivals during the winter season followed by China especially during the month of February, the holiday season in China.

“The current infrastructure is quite adequate with the number of hotel rooms to cater to the growth anticipated in the coming years,” Mudadeniya said while adding that the number of arrivals this year would be close to around 2.3 million.The final arrival figure will depend on the performance of the industry during the last four months of the year.

“So far the situation has been under control and there is no reason for travellers to panic. The industry is hopeful that the situation will stabilize and normalcy restored soon,” Mudadeniya said.The number of tourist arrivals from January to September this year recorded a 11.6 percent growth with arrivals of 1.7 million compared to 1.55 million during the same period last year.

Travel experts and industry personnel said the recognition the country received from Lonely Planet is a boost for the industry which is aiming at three million arrivals by 2020 with a revenue exceeding US$ 5 billion.Sri Lanka was named the best country to visit in 2019 by Lonely Planet. The country’s improved infrastructure such as transport links along with the new hotels and events that run throughout the year contributed to the recent recognition by the world renowned travel publication.