Business / Industries

Chinese tourists carry weight in world tourism, says UNWTO official

(Xinhua) Updated: 2016-07-15 10:25

COLOMBO - As China is becoming the largest tourists source country and still increasing, the whole world, especially including Sri Lanka should value Chinese tourist market, Taleb Rifai, the Secretary General of the UNWTO told Xinhua during an interview on Wednesday in Passikudha, the east coast of Sri Lanka.

The UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), an international travel and tourism body, jointly held the 2016 conference with Sri Lankan Tourism Ministry in Passikudha from 12-14th July.

Talking about the relation between tourism and development, Rifai said, since the country's conflict ended in 2009, Sri Lanka had achieved a lot in progress of economy, society and national reconciliation.

However, he said the tourism industry did not play its important role as supposed in this process. "Sri Lanka still has a long way ahead for tourism booming, which encourage this island present its best to attract more and more tourists." Rifai said.

"I have too many reasons to suggest that all the countries, especially Sri Lanka, value Chinese tourists," Rifai said, noting China is the largest tourists source country with gradual growth, and Chinese tourists are so loyal to the destinations that they will come back with family or friends once they love the place.

Last year, Sri Lanka was able to attract 200,000 Chinese tourists, with the total amount of tourist arrivals to Sri Lanka reaching almost 1.8 million. The Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) has targeted 2.5 million arrivals for 2016.

An increase in tourists mainly from China and India will help strengthen Sri Lanka's fragile economy as tourism is poised to become the No 1 foreign exchange earner, an official has told Xinhua in an recent interview.

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