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Survey on Departing Foreign Tourists from Sri Lanka September '08- February'09

Introduction: The Research Division of the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority conducted a survey of departing foreign tourists at the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) during the period from September 2008 to February 2009. The main objective of this survey was to obtain information on visitor profile, travel behaviour and expenditure patterns and opinions and impressions of tourists on the levels of satisfaction they had while on their holiday in Sri Lanka. 3013 tourists and 1433 transit passengers were met through direct interviews by foreign language competent interviewers and a method of stratified quota sampling was used. 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. Highlights of Findings (a) Tourists Profile respondents of the sample were from UK (33%) followed by India (24%) and Germany (15%) The highest respectively. The country of nationality and country of residence of respondent tourists indicated no vast differences except in the case of Middle East. of male tourists who visited was higher than that of female tourists. India represented the The number highest imbalance between female-male ratios of tourists' arrivals while female tourists outnumbered male tourists from Russia. number of tourists who visited Sri Lanka belonged to the middle aged group of 40-49 years. The highest By occupation, a highest proportion belonged to the upper and middle social classes and out of which twothirds belonged to classes of Businessmen, Professionals, Executives, Scientists, Technicians and Educationists. A large majority of tourists (61%) were on their first visit to Sri Lanka. The highest proportion of firsttimers had come from Russia (83%), followed by China (71%) and Middle East (70 %) respectively. of tourists had visited Sri Lanka only one time before (24%). Only 20 per cent tourists had visited Majority at least 2 times before. nature of the country has had an influence for the highest number of tourists to make their trip to The tropical Sri Lanka. per cent of the tourists' the main purpose of visit was holiday, while around 13 per cent came for Nearly 81 business purposes.

The first choices of the holiday visitors were Sun and Beach (59 %) and Historic Sites (11 %). per cent out of those on business purposes had been here on 'corporate travel', while out of those ?Nearly 31 who came for 'other' purposes, 62 per cent had come for the specific reason as 'visiting friends & relations'. sources of information which influenced the tourists to visit Sri Lanka were recommendations of ?The main friends/relations (41%) and the internet (24 %). Travel Behaviour Patterns m average duration of stay of the sample was 10 nights. The overall m tourists (31%) had made their travel arrangements about one month prior to their departure, Most of the while 23.31 per cent had made their arrangements before three month before the departure. mof tourists travelled either with their spouses or friends or relatives. Only 43 per cent tourists Majority travelled with their spouses while 27 per cent travelled alone. m per cent of all tourists travelling to Sri Lanka made their travel arrangements through a tour Around 60 operator/travel agent in their country of residence while 22 per cent have used the internet and out of which, 87 per cent have used credit cards when paying for their travel. 32 per cent of the tourists used a package tour for this trip. m For 80 percent of the respondents, Sri Lanka was the main destination. m India recorded the highest number (27%) as the country that respondents visited before arriving to Sri Lanka. Maldives was the most popular country that respondents would visit after leaving Sri Lanka (28%) on this trip. mvisited Asian country during the past 5 years was Thailand (32%). followed by Singapore (26 %), The most India (24 %) and Malaysia (22%) respectively. m has been rated as a fair place in comparison to India, Thailand, Singapore, and China. Sri Lanka Attractions and activities popular place of attraction within Sri Lanka for respondents was Colombo City (65%).Other The most 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%). outstanding tourist attraction of the country was `friendly and nice people`. ?The most and excursions were the most popular activities engaged by 58 per cent of the respondents. Sea Site seeing bathing (53%), sun bathing (52%), shopping (52 per cent) swimming in the pool (51%) were the other popular activities engaged in. per cent had engaged in shopping while in Sri Lanka. A large percentage (98 per cent) of those Around 75 who engaged in shopping was satisfied with their purchases. per cent of respondents had used guide services during their stay in Sri Lanka. ?Almost 31 ?Yala National Park was the most visited National Park which was 57 per cent.

was rated as the star of Sri Lanka's wild life by nearly, 62 per cent respondents were interested in ?Elephant Elephants in Sri Lanka. While11 per cent were interested in Birds. cent of respondents had been involved in corporate social responsibility or community social ?Only 7 per responsibility (CSR) activities during their visit in Sri Lanka. Tourists from Benelux countries and Japan were the highest contributors to CSR. ?In analyzing CSR activities, nearly 17 per cent respondents engaged in social services while 12 per cent engaged in religious and cultural activities. Facilities and Services Used A considerable proportion (83 %) of the respondents had used hotels for accommodation and 7 per cent had used guest houses and rest houses. 45 Guest Houses and 11 Boutique Hotels and Villas were recorded to have been used by ?117 hotels, respondents. Out of their total number of nights in hotels a fairly considerable number of nights had been spent at hotels in the South Coast (35%). rating of accommodation facilities used was either good (47%) or excellent (26 %). ?The overall rating of facilities and services at the airport was either good (55%) or excellent (19%). ?The overall Limo, Cabs were the popular mode of transport for many tourists (52%). ?Car, Taxi,

Tourists' expenditure expenditure of those respondents who had taken a package tour was US$ 974 while average ?The average expenditure of non package tour was US$ 906. Opinions and impressions ?At least around one-third of the respondents had been approached by touts, beggars, beach boys, beach vendors, street vendors or three wheel drivers about which most of the respondents commented unfavorably. of 54 per cent of respondents thought Sri Lanka was 'a beautiful tropical country' while around ?A proportion 45 per cent said it was a country with 'nice people'. Nearly 26 per cent had also heard that it was '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. ?The majority of the respondents were either delighted (67 %) or satisfied (31%) with their overall Visit to Sri Lanka. ?An overwhelming majority of the tourists (78 %) said that they had an intention of visiting Sri Lanka again.

(b) Transit Passengers revealed that in general around 60 per cent of the transit passengers were Indians. Most of them ?The survey were expatriates returning to India or travelling back to their places of employment. The highest share of transit passengers had arrived from India (44 %), followed by Maldives (14 %) and Middle East. (8 %) respectively. per cent of the transit passengers were males with slightly higher percentages for India and ?Around 78 Pakistan. ?By profession, most of the passengers belonged to the Businessmen category (21%) while 12 per cent belonged to the Executive category. ?By age group, around 34 per cent of the passengers belonged to the age group of 30-39 and 28 per cent to the age group of 20-29. ?A large number of passengers (15 %) had stayed 6 hours on transit while 13 per cent stayed nearly 3 hours. Around one-third of the respondents had left the airport during their transit period and out of which around 85 per cent had used hotels as accommodation during their transit stay. than half of respondents (59%) had future plans of visiting Sri Lanka. ?Nearly more per cent of the transit passengers had made purchases either at the airport duty free shops or ?Around 34 while outside the airport. (c )Comments and Suggestions A large number of tourists were of the view that the Airport environment was good. On the other hand they considered that attitudes of airport and airline staff was not up to their expectations and the duty free shops at the airport were considered too expensive. comments and suggestions related to the hotels and restaurants revealed a lack of availability of Majority of vegetarian food and also Indian food. given by tourists suggested the need of a better road and transport services for tourists. Comments Tourists were also concerned about the environmental pollution and stray dogs and cats on roads sides. They too stressed the importance of highlighting the country's great history by renovating and upgrading the sites. Some respondents were not happy about the availability of tourist information.

Research & International Relations Division Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority