Neighbouring India, continued to dominate tourism arrivals, followed by traditional markets of the UK and Germany.
In 2011, the Indian Ocean Island welcomed a record 855,975 visitors and earned 830.3 million dollars from the trade, according to Central Bank of Sri Lanka figures.
The tourism authority hopes to attract about a million visitors this year, and tips earnings to hit about one billion dollars.On Monday, the central bank said earnings from tourism arrivals had risen 26.0 percent to 340 million dollars for the four months to April this year, over the same period a year earlier.
Sri Lanka offers tourists miles of golden beaches, misty mountains, colonial architecture, ancient royal kingdoms and tropical jungles teaming with wildlife and exotic plants.
The leisure industry was hurt during the island’s nearly four decades long conflict with Tamil Tiger rebels, which ended in May 2009. The United Nations estimates some 100,000 people perished during the conflict.
Tourism remains a key foreign exchange earner for Sri Lanka’s 59 billion dollar economy along with exports of garments, tea and remittances from expatriate workers.