Colombo, March 3 (NIA) – Sri Lanka won the ‘Most Popular Tourism Destination Award’ at the Guangzhou International Travel Fair (GITF) which was held in Guangzhou, in southern China recently, a Foreign Ministry statement said here Friday.
Sri Lanka won the prestigious award for the second consecutive year which is testament to the country’s growing popularity among Chinese travel enthusiasts, Ministry officials said.
China has been Sri Lanka’s second largest source market for tourism since 2014.
Nineteen Travel and tour agents from Sri Lanka participated in this year’s Travel Fair and a seven-member dance troupe performed traditional dances at the Sri Lanka pavilion.
The GITF is South China’s leading travel Expo drawing affluent travel enthusiasts every year from mainland China.
The volume of visitors to this event has been increasing annually and this has enabled Sri Lanka to gain greater exposure and visibility for its unique destination brand.
Sri Lanka, has in recent years launched a massive tourism promotion campaign in several cities worldwide aiming to promote its hills and luscious beaches.
The tourism industry suffered a severe blow due to decades of fighting between government troops and Tamil Tiger rebels which ended in May 2009, with the defeat of the rebel group.
With an influx of tourists arriving in the island country, especially from neighboring India and China, the government now hopes to make tourism the number one foreign exchange earner.
“We are confident we will be able to do it. Our tourism industry is booming and we are marketing the country in the correct cities world wide. Very soon we will be able to promote Sri Lanka as one of the leading tourism destinations in the world,” Tourism Minister John Amaratunga said.
The country had already exceeded the 2 million tourist arrival mark in 2016 and it now hopes to attract a further 2.5 million tourists by the end of 2017.