Chapter 1 - Survey Highlights

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1 Chapter 1 - Survey Highlights 1.1 Highlights of Survey Findings The highest number of respondents of the sample of departing foreign tourists were from UK (31%), followed by India (19%) and Germany (14%). The country of nationality and country of residence of respondent tourists had indicated no vast difference except in the case of Middle East. The number of male tourists (57%) who visited Sri Lanka was higher than that of female tourists (43%). The highest imbalance between male to female tourists ratio was represented in China while female tourists outnumbered male tourists from Germany and Russia. The highest number of tourists who visited Sri Lanka belonged to the senior age- group which is 60 years and above (24%). By occupation, the highest proportion belonged to the upper and middle social classes and more than half of them were Executives (18%), Professionals (17%), Retired Persons (11%), Scientists (11%) and Businessmen (10%). The majority of tourists (70%) were on their first visit to Sri Lanka. The largest proportion of first timers came from France (89%), followed by Scandinavia (83%), China (78%), Middle East (78%) and Russia (76%) respectively. The majority of tourists (27%) had visited Sri Lanka only once before and 17% tourists had visited at least twice before. Most of the tourists (52%) had made their travel arrangements one month prior to departure or three months before. The majority of the tourists had travelled either with their spouses (39%) or alone (23%). The overall average duration of stay of the sample was 10 nights. 01

2 Around 46% of the tourists who traveled to Sri Lanka made their travel arrangements through a tour operator/ travel agent in their country of residence while 29% made their own arrangements and made payments directly. 18% had used the internet as the mode of payment and 82% had used Credit cards when paying for their travel. Package tours were used by 38% and Non Package tours were used by 62% of the tourists for their trips. The main source of information which influenced the tourists to visit Sri Lanka was the Internet (22%), followed by recommendations by friends/ relations (20%). Around 87% of the tourists had declared their main purpose of visit to be holiday while nearly 8% have visited for business purposes. 5% of the respondents had visited for other purposes to Sri Lanka. The first preferences of the holiday visitors were sun and beach (49%) followed by historic sites (23%). Nearly52% of those on business purpose were on 'Corporate Travel', while out of those who came for other purposes, 93% stated the purpose as 'Visiting Friends & Relations'. Sri Lanka was the main destination for 93% of the respondents. India recorded the highest number (23%) as the country that respondents visited before arriving to Sri Lanka. Furthermore, India (20%) was the most popular country those respondents visited after leaving Sri Lanka on their trip. The most visited Asian country during the past 5 years was Thailand (39%), followed by Singapore (27%), India (25%) and Malaysia South (21%) respectively. 24% of respondents mentioned Sri Lanka to be much better as a tourist destination than the other Asian countries. Sri Lanka has been rated at a fair place in comparison to Indonesia (39%), Vietnam (35%), Thailand (31%) and Philippines (31%). 02

3 The most popular attraction within Sri Lanka for departing foreign tourists was Kandy (63%). Other places in order of popularity were Colombo City/Shopping (61%), South/West Coast Beaches (54%), Sigiriya (38%), Hill Country (37%) and Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage (37%). Beaches' was the most outstanding attraction of tourists for visiting Sri Lanka. Sightseeing & Excursions were the most popular activities engaged in by 59% of the respondents. Visit to historical sites (57%), Shopping (55%) and Sea bathing (47%) were the other popular activities engaged in. Around 80% had engaged in shopping whilst in Sri Lanka. A large percentage (97%) of those who engaged in shopping was satisfied with their purchases. It is noted that 30% of the tourists were interested in buying tea while 13 % preferred to purchase clothes. A considerable proportion (73%) of the respondents had used hotels for accommodation whereas 16% stayed in guest houses and rest houses. The overall rating of accommodation facilities used was either Good (55%) or Excellent (27%). The overall rating and services at the airport was either Good (66%) or Satisfactory (17%). Cars, Taxis, Limos, Cabs were the popular mode of transport for many tourists (40%). 14%of the tourists had used guide services during their stay in Sri Lanka. The average expenditure of those respondents, who had taken a package tour, was US$ , while average of the additional expenditure was US$

4 The average expenditure per day of those respondents who were non package users with airfare was US$ per day while average expenditure of non package without airfare was US$ per day. More than one-third of the respondents had been approached by three wheel drivers, beggars, street and beach vendors, touts and beach boys about which most of the respondents commented unfavorably. Around 59% of the foreign tourists perceived Sri Lanka as a beautiful country, whilst 57% thought of Sri Lankans as being 'nice people'. Beaches with golden sands in Sri Lanka were favored by 37% of the respondents. 15% of the respondents perceived it as being an 'A Country with Political Problems and Violence'. In their perceived images, the expectations of tourists were in general either the same or have small variations. A majority of the respondents were either delighted (65%) or satisfied (33%) with their overall visit to Sri Lanka. An overwhelming majority of the tourists (73%) have said that they had an intention of visiting Sri Lanka again. The survey revealed that, in general, 47% of the transit passengers were Indians. Most of them were expatriates returning to India or returning to their places of employment. Around 67% of the transit passengers were males and it was greater than the number of female passengers (33%). The higher percentages of male and female passengers were from Pakistan and Japan respectively. By profession, most of the passengers were Businessmen (20%) while 15% belonged to Professional category. By age group, around 60% of the passengers belonged to the and age group. 04

5 A large number of passengers (22%) stayed 3 hours on transit, while 14% stayed nearly 2 hours on transit. The overall average duration of stay of transit passengers was 6 hours. The number of passengers who left the airport while on transit was around 86%. Out of this percentage, 92% used hotel accommodation during their transit. More than half of the respondents (61%) have plans of visiting Sri Lanka in future. 28% of transit passengers had made purchases either at the airport duty free shops or shops outside the airport. Comments given by tourists suggested the need of a better roads and transport services for tourists. Tourists were also concerned about the environmental pollution and stray dogs. Some respondents were unhappy about the variation of foods and standard of the hotels. 05

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