China pips UK to become Sri Lanka’s second tourist market

June 13, 2014 (LBO) – China overtook the United Kingdom to become the second largest source of tourists to Sri Lanka in May 2014 and is now second only to India, official data showed. Chinese have been travelling out in greater number in the past few years as the country followed sound monetary policy and the currency appreciated steadily against the US dollar in the run up to the Great Recession.

Indian arrivals started to surge following an initial setback when Sri Lanka re-introduced visas to the country amid resurgent nationalism in the country which triggered a tightening of immigration rules.

Sri Lanka has seen a rise in tourist arrivals after the end of a 30-year war in 2009. Arrivals rose 20.3 percent to 90,046 in May 2014.

In the five months to May 2014 arrivals were up 26.5 percent to 624,178.

Chinese arrivals rose 160 percent from a year earlier to 7,082 in May 2014 compared to 6,913 from the UK, up 5.3 percent from a year earlier. Arrivals from India, the top source of visitors to Sri Lanka, were up 28.9 percent to 22,980.

In April China was the fourth largest source of tourists to Sri Lanka, coming behind UK (12,380), Germany (8,137) and India (1