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Published on : Saturday, November 9, 2013
According to data released by State-run Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA), Sri Lanka’s tourist arrivals jumped by 26.2 percent in September this year, compared to the same period last year. The month recorded 89,761 tourists arriving in the country, compared to the 71,111 tourists in September 2012. Chinese arrivals rose from 16,623 to 29,153 in the first nine months of 2013. It is also the highest growth among the major players in Sri Lanka’s lucrative post-war tourism industry.
Industry experts believes that China is already the eighth main destination for the local travel sector with projections for a significant increase towards the end of 2013 and the years ahead. A huge group of Chinese tour operators are also expected to arrive in Sri Lanka on a promotional tour on the sidelines of the mega Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) being hosted by Sri Lanka this month. The Chinese business delegation is also expected to attend the summit, which starts November 10.
Sri Lanka Tourism Chairman Bhashwara Gunarathna told media there would be 82 tourism industry participants at the exhibition, taking up 100 stalls. Sri Lanka has set a target of 1.25 million for 2013 and hopes to entice 2.5 million tourists by 2016. To achieve this mark Sri Lanka needs 100,000 Chinese tourists by 2016.