Colombo: Sri Lanka has registered a major fall in tourist arrivals due to the coronavirus outbreak, with an over 70 per cent decline in footfalls in March compared to the same period last year, according to a media report.
The island nation stopped all passenger flights and ship services on March 18 in view of the novel coronavirus outbreak.
Till then in March, 71,370 international tourists visited Sri Lanka, the Colombo Page quoted the Sri Lanka Tourist Development Authority's Tourist Arrivals Report for March 2020.
In March last year, the country received 2,44,328 international tourists, recording 70.8 per cent drop for March 2020, the daily reported.
According to the monthly data, Indian tourists accounted for the largest number of arrivals followed by tourists from Russia, the United Kingdom, Germany and France.
Europe accounted for 60 per cent of the tourist traffic in March 2020.
The Asia-Pacific region made up 34 per cent of the tourist footfalls followed by the North and South Americas at 4.6 per cent, the Middle East at 0.9 per cent and Africa at 0.5 per cent.
There was marked decline in the numbers from all regions in comparison to last year.
Tourist arrivals from the Middle East fell by 85.7 per cent, from the Americas by 83.4 per cent, Africa recorded a decline of 77.9 per cent.
The Asia-Pacific region registered a fall of 75.4 per cent and Europe a fall of 64.3 per cent.
While all countries registered a fall, arrivals from Kazakhstan recorded an increase of 79.7 per cent.
Country-wise, the most number of tourists came from India at 17.7 per cent, followed by Russia at 12.4 per cent. The United Kingdom, Germany and France made up 11.2 per cent, 9.3 per cent and 5.7 per cent respectively.
China was among the top ten countries for tourist arrivals despite the coronavirus outbreak which first surfaced in the Asian powerhouse's Wuhan city.
In the January to March period of this year, Sri Lanka received maximum number of tourists from India (18 per cent), United Kingdom (11 per cent), Russia (10 per cent), Germany (7 per cent) and China (5 per cent).
The novel coronavirus has claimed seven lives and infected 622 people in Sri Lanka. The global death toll stands at 217,674 with over 3 million infections. The virus outbreak has triggered fears of a global economic slowdown, affecting almost all sectors.