Sri Lanka's tourism watchdog has downgraded arrival targets for 2013, an official said here on Monday, in what could be the first time that the industry fails to meet expectations since the end of a three decade conflict in 2009.
The Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) downgraded the forecast arrivals for 2013, changing the original estimated figure of 1.25 million to 1.1 million.
SLTDA Director General D.S. Jayaweera noted that given the arrivals during the first six months of the year, the country is likely to attract 1.1 million by end-December.
"Tourist arrivals have increased drastically over the past four years," Jayaweera said.
"Last year, the country recorded just over one million arrivals whereas during the last six months, we have attracted almost 500, 000. My own forecast is 1.1 million for the year."
According to him, the average growth rate is likely to be around 28 percent.
The arrival of Chinese tourists has increased an average of 72 percent over the last six months over the same period last year, he added.
On a cumulative basis, earnings from tourism during the first five months of 2013 recorded a growth of 21.9 percent, to 484.3 million U.S. dollars, the Central Bank said in its external sector report.
This growth is compared to the cumulative earnings of 397.1 million U.S. dollars received from tourism during the first five months of 2012.
Earnings from tourism are projected to hit 1.5 billion U.S. dollars this year, up from 1 billion U.S. dollars last year.