In working toward Sri Lanka’s goal to attract 2.5 million tourists by 2016, China will play an important role, particularly being the largest outbound tourism market in the world. More than 83 million Chinese citizens reportedly travelled abroad as tourists last year alone.
Sri Lanka has identified China as a priority market in its tourism promotion strategy and hopes to attract 100,000 Chinese tourists to the island in 2015 and 275,000 by 2016. This year, Sri Lanka has already recorded more than one million tourists overall, and the number of Chinese tourists has increased drastically in recent years, from 9,668 tourists in 2005 to 54,288 in 2013. This number especially began to increase after the war ended in 2009.
The trend of incoming Chinese tourists continues to be positive. There has been an increase of more than 139 percent in the arrival of Chinese tourists to Sri Lanka during the first four months of this year compared to the same period last year. As of May 2014, China had become the fourth largest source of tourist arrivals to the island.
Sri Lanka also hopes to continue attracting more Chinese tourists to Sri Lanka during upcoming years in reaching its goal of attracting 2.5 million tourists by 2016.