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Sri Lanka tourism boosted by rise in Chinese arrivals

Xinhua | Updated: 2014-05-08 13:54

Sri Lanka's tourist industry crossed the half a million tourist arrival mark in April, helped by a healthy 136 percent growth in Chinese travelers, latest data showed here on Wednesday.

Tourist arrivals in April grew by 39.5 percent, when compared to the same month last year, to 112,631 and the large numbers brought the total during the first four months to 534,132, an increase of 27.6 percent over 2013.

So far this year, monthly arrivals have been over 100,000 each, according to the data released by the State-run Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority.

April arrivals were boosted by good performance from both traditional and emerging markets.

China, the new star, produced 36,803 arrivals up to April, a growth of 136 percent whilst in April the number of Chinese tourists rose by 170 percent to 8,005.

Overall the East Asian region generated 91,055 tourists up to April, a growth of 55 percent whilst in April arrivals rose by 61 percent to 18,416.

Arrivals from Western Europe rose by 48 percent to 37,369 in April with UK arrivals up 43 percent to 12,380. Visitors from Germany were up 59.6 percent to 8,137. France came third with 5, 970 arrivals, up by 43 percent over April 2013.

On Monday, the Central Bank said earnings from tourism rose by 34 percent from 2013 to $609 million in the first three months of 2014.

Since the end of a three decade war in 2009, Sri Lanka's tourist arrivals have boomed, reaching over 1.2 million last year and attracting earnings of 1.7 billion U.S. dollars, according to the Central Bank.

The tropical island is aiming to attract 2.5 million arrivals by 2016, buoyed by fast increasing numbers from China.

Only 27,627 Chinese tourists arrived in Sri Lanka in 2012, according to the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority, but the numbers nearly doubled to 54,288 last year.

China has now become the third largest source of tourists for Sri Lanka behind India and UK as well as being the fastest growing market.

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