Sri Lanka April tourist arrivals slide after Easter bombings

FILE PHOTO: Empty sunbathing chairs are seen on a beach near hotels in a tourist area in Bentota, Sri Lanka May 2, 2019. REUTERS/Dinuka Liyanawatte

COLOMBO (Reuters) - Tourist arrivals in Sri Lanka tumbled 7.5 percent in April from a year ago, as travelers shunned the island nation after the deadly Easter Sunday bombings, a senior official of the state tourism bureau said.

“This is a direct impact of the attacks. There were a lot of cancellations,” said Kishu Gomes, chairman of the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority told Reuters.

Foreign visitors in April fell to 166,975 compared with 180,429 in the same month a year ago, marking the single biggest monthly slump since the end of a civil war a decade ago.

More than 250 people were killed, including 42 foreign nationals, when suicide bombers attacked churches and luxury hotels across the Indian Ocean Island on April 21.

Reporting By Shihar Aneez & Ranga Sirilal