Colombo, April 15 (NIA) – Sri Lanka offers the best tourism in the region with its natural beaches, hills, wildlife, eco tourism etc, Tourism Minister John Amaratunga said here Saturday.
Often criticized for its high rates and compared to countries such as Thailand who offer the same facilities at a cheaper price, Amaratunga said it was unfair to compare Sri Lanka to any other country as Sri Lanka offered the best due to its natural beauty and world class standards.
“Places like Thailand are over crowded. Sri Lanka offers much more as we cater to a different market. You cannot compare us to other countries,” Amaratunga said.
Meanwhile, with China being one of the leading markets, Amaratunga said Sri Lanka was expecting a substantial increase in Chinese tourists this year as more resorts and hotels throughout the country are putting in place facilities to cater to the Chinese market.
Amaratunga said that with China becoming the number one outbound tourism market in 2016, Sri Lanka too was gearing up to welcome more Chinese tourists.
“China is one of the most powerful countries in the world. We are targetting more Chinese arrivals and we have enough of hotels which are prepared to cater to that market,” Amaratunga said.
He added that more locals were now also learning the Chinese language in order to guide the Chinese tourists and Sri Lanka had in the first quarter of this year, already received several inquiries from Chinese travel agents.
He added that Sri Lanka Tourism was also continuing its promotion campaigns in the major cities across China.
China remained one of the leading markets with the most number of tourist arrivals in the first three months of this year with 22,172 Chinese tourists arriving in Sri Lanka in March.
Last year, 271,577 Chinese tourists arrived in Sri Lanka, a 26.4 percent growth compared to the 214,783 who arrived in 2015.
According to the latest report released by the United Nations World Tourism Organization, China was once again named the number one market in the world with the highest number of outbound tourists in 2016.
International tourism expenditure grew by US$ 11 billion to US$ 261 billion, an increase by 12% and the number of outbound travellers rose 6% to 135 million in 2016.
“This growth consolidates China’s position as number one source market in the world since 2012, following a trend of double-digit growth in tourism expenditure every year since 2004,” the UNWTO said.
It added that the growth in outbound travel from China benefited many destinations in Asia and the Pacific in 2016.