Colombo, July 6 (newsin.asia) – Over 1 million tourists arrived in Sri Lanka in the first six months of this year with China and India being the leading markets, statistics from the Sri Lanka Tourism Bureau showed here Thursday.
June recorded a 4.5 percent growth with the arrival of 123,351 tourists compared to the same period last year whilst 1,010,444 tourists arrived from January to June, statistics revealed.
India recorded the highest number of tourist arrivals with 27,836 followed by China which recorded 17,205.
Tourist arrivals from Britain also recorded a 10.8 percent growth compared to the same period last year with the arrival of 10,424 tourists.
Sri Lanka’s Tourism Minister, John Amaratunga said last week that the industry was confident to achieve 2.5 million tourists this year and preparations had been put in place to welcome an influx of tourists from September.
Amaratunga said Sri Lanka was depending on the Chinese market to boost its tourist arrivals and the country was encouraging more Chinese to visit the island country.
“Our concentration now mainly is on the Chinese and Indian market. This is mainly because there are directs air links between Colombo and several cities in China and India. We hope to achieve a larger number from these countries,” Amaratunga said.
Sri Lanka’s Tourism market has seen a positive growth since the end of the country’s civil conflict between government troops and Tamil Tiger rebels which ended in May 2009.
Tourism has become the second highest earner of foreign exchange and Amaratunga said that with the launch of new hotels in the country, they hoped to bring in 45,000 rooms in the coming few years.
Last year over 2 million tourists arrived in Sri Lanka.