Colombo, Oct 9 (newsin.asia) – Tourist arrivals to Sri Lanka, fell by 2.3 percent in September, when compared to the same period last year, mainly due to a negative growth from major markets such as China, Germany and South Africa, statistics from Sri Lanka’s Tourism Ministry showed here Monday.
China which was one of the strongest markets has continued to record a negative growth in recent months with arrivals dropping by 14.3 percent last month when compared to September 2016. So far this year, 208,635 Chinese tourists have arrived in Sri Lanka with over 18,000 arriving in September.
India however has continued to be the leading market with 267,601 tourists arriving in Sri Lanka this year. In September 34,481 tourists arrived in the country, a 26.6 percent growth compared to the same month last year.
Sri Lanka’s Tourism Minister, John Amaratunga recently announced that arrivals were expected to increase, including from China, during the month long Colombo International Shopping Festival which began on Oct 1.
He said the Festival will provide world-class and internationally renowned original brands at competitive prices. The event will be held under the theme ‘One Island; One Big Mall’.
Sri Lanka’s government recently said it aims to double the number of tourists to 5 million per year by 2020 as part of a new tourist strategy to boost revenue to the south Asian island.
According to the Central Bank, Sri Lanka has earned over 2 billion U.S. dollars from tourism so far this year.