Tourism is a major source of income in Sri Lanka, which was described by the Italian explorer Marco Polo as ‘the finest island of its size on earth’ in the 13th century. Tourist attractions in Sri Lanka have many treasures, such as beaches, a favourable climate, cultural heritage, and national parks. These attractions are very important for the tourists who come to the country for pleasure. Tourists visit Sri Lanka not only for pleasure but also for other purposes. Therefore, this study was conducted to present a more accurate forecasting model of tourist arrivals by purpose of visit. The data were taken from the reports of the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority and annual arrivals from 2010 to 2017 were analysed by country of residence and selected four purposes of visit, which were pleasure/ vacation, visiting friends and relations, business and religious and cultural. According to these data, most tourists come for pleasure/ vacation and most of them are Asians. Further, it was found that India demonstrated the highest number of arrivals out of 11 Asian countries. Thus, monthly arrivals from India from 2010 to 2019 were gathered to model a forecasting model. According to the minimum Akaike Information Criterion (AIC) and Bayesian Information Criterion (BIC) values, SARIMA (Seasonal Autoregressive Integrated Moving Average) (1,1,1)(0,0,2)12 was selected as the best model to forecast tourist arrivals from India. In this study, forecasting was done for the year 2020.
Keywords: Asians, Forecast, Pleasure, Purpose, Tourist Arrivals