Sri Lanka’s tourist arrivals rose 11.6 percent in April, from a year earlier, to 136,367, mainly due to a strong growth from China, statistics from the country’s Tourism Promotion Bureau showed on Wednesday.

China was the second market with the most number of tourist arrivals in April with 18,972 travelers, a 37.6 percent increase from the same period of last year.

India remained the No. 1 market with 25,890 travelers, a 12.3-percent growth from the previous year.

Visitors from Japan increased 25 percent to 3,172 and Western European arrivals were up 12.2 percent to 39,243, with Britain’s arrivals up 6.9 percent to 12,006.

From January to April, 721,185 tourists have visited Sri Lanka with the government expecting the year to end with a larger number than the previous year.

The Sri Lankan government has been trying to promote the island nation as a tourist hub in the Indian Ocean region with mega tourism promotion campaigns launched in several cities worldwide, including in China.

The island nation’s tourism industry has seen an upward trend since the end of the civil war in May 2009.

Last year, Sri Lanka attracted 200,000 Chinese tourists with the government maintaining that cooperation between China and Sri Lanka had recently witnessed “a very big development.”

On Wednesday, government spokesperson Gayantha Karunathilleke said following a proposal made by Tourism Minister John Amaratunga, the cabinet granted approval to hold an international conference on tourism with the assistance of the United Nations World Tourism Organization in July.

Karunathilleke said the conference, which will be held in Eastern Sri Lanka, will provide an opportunity to showcase the national reconciliation process, which is the priority concern of the government.

The Sri Lankan government hopes to attract at least 3 million tourists by the end of this year and it has set a target of 4 million by 2020.

May 4, 2016 on Xinhua Net

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