Sri lanka’s tourism industry booms with huge increase of Chinese arrivals

COLOMBO, March 25 (Xinhua) — Revenue from Sri Lanka’s lucrative post-war tourism industry grew 32.2 percent in the first two months of this year to 161.2 million U.S. dollars when compared with the previous year, partly helped by a whopping 119.2 percent boost of arrivals from China, the latest data showed on Tuesday.

Earnings from Sri Lanka’s tourism industry rose to 1.4 billion U.S. dollars in 2013 with 1.17 million arrivals, according to the country’s Central Bank.

In its latest report the Central Bank reported income from tourism rose from 122 million U.S. dollars in the first two months of 2014 to 161.2 million for the same period this year.

In the first two months of this year a total of 288,453 tourists arrived in this south Asian nation recording a 28.5 percent increase during the corresponding period in 2013.

The top five sources of tourist arrivals in 2014 were India, UK, China, Russia and Germany, accounting for about 42 per cent of tourist arrivals during the first two months.

Statistics have been seen by experts as an early indication of the country reaching its 2.5 million tourist target ahead of the 2016 deadline.

China led the arrival numbers for East Asians recording a 119.2 percent increase with the arrival of 21,098 travelers in the first two months of the year. Only 27,627 Chinese tourists arrived in Sri Lanka in 2012, according to the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) but the numbers nearly doubled to 54,288 last year.

This is largely due to massive advertising campaigns launched in China by the Sri Lankan government and greater engagement with Chinese media.

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