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Concerns grow over credibility of Sri Lanka’s tourism numbers

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COLOMBO, Sri Lanka – Sri Lanka said it had received 1.27 million tourists, topping a 1.2 million target for 2014 after changing the method of calculation, as concern grows over the credibility of stat

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COLOMBO, Sri Lanka – Sri Lanka said it had received 1.27 million tourists, topping a 1.2 million target for 2014 after changing the method of calculation, as concern grows over the credibility of state data.

Up to November Sri Lanka welcomed 1,016,228 million tourists, and had to get 200,000 tourists in December to reach the target, which would have been almost double the 122,000 arrivals in the month in December.
But the tourism office said Wednesday it had comfortably topped 1.2 million after the “latest validation” of data attracting 1,274,593 tourists.

“Sri Lanka Tourism has validated the tourism arrival figures for each month of the year 2013 and according to the latest validation; Sri Lanka in total has received 1,274,593 tourists during the year 2013,” the agency said in a statement.

“The new validation was carried out based on the statistics provided by the computer data collection method of Immigration and Emigration Department of Sri Lanka.

“The new system is a joint effort of both the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority and the Emigration and Immigration Department of Sri Lanka to ensure that the country accurately captures the tourist arrival figures.”

Sri Lanka Tourism said it follows a UN standard of defining as a “a person who stays at least one night in a country and does not exceed his stay period for more than 12 months.”

According to the new data, Sri Lanka has not only received 153,918 tourists up 26.7 percent from a year earlier, but has also got more tourists in previous months, for which data the state had released earlier.

Arrivals in January 2013 were now up 28.7 percent to 110,543 instead of the previous 13.4 percent and February arrivals were up 36.4 percent to 113,968 instead of the previous 11.6 percent.

No adjustments had been reported to the 2013 numbers.

The tourism office had not released hotel occupancy numbers for the entirely of 2013.

The latest tourism statistical reports come amid a call by business chambers to probe allegations of manipulating gross domestic product data.
There are also queries over Sri Lanka’s budget deficit data and official inflation statistics where there are increasingly frequent base changes.

Sri Lanka does not have an independent public service, which had created broader problems over governance and rule of law and a deterioration of institutions.

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editor

Editor in chief is Linda Hohnholz.