Published on : Friday, July 27, 2018
Since the last two years, growing number of Chinese tourists traveling to Sri Lanka is on the rise. It remains to be seen if Sri Lanka can truly ever become a major destination for Chinese tourists, as it has to compete with closer and cheaper destinations right on China’s doorstep like Thailand or Vietnam.
However, that doesn’t mean that the Chinese and Sri Lankan governments aren’t taking Chinese travel to the island nation seriously. Although Sri Lanka is a small country, it holds an important place in China’s larger geopolitical goals. Tourism is the more public and exciting side of Beijing’s engagement with Colombo.
In 2017, Sri Lanka attracted almost 269,000 Chinese tourists. Although not a huge number, it still signifies the importance of Chinese arrivals for the Sri Lanka’s tourism industry. The top source market in 2017 for Sri Lanka was India, with almost 385,000 arrivals. In total, Sri Lanka attracted 2.1 million foreign visitors in 2017. Overall, Chinese arrivals to Sri Lanka are growing quite quickly.
Most recently, Sri Lanka announced that it would be moving one of its own naval bases to the Chinese-owned port from the city of Galle.