Mar 09, 2015 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s tourist arrivals rose 16.7 percent to 165,541 in February 2015 from a year earlier with a surge in tourist arrivals from China, data from the state tourism promotion office showed.
In the past two months of 2015 tourist arrivals were up 11.6 percent to 321,787.
Arrivals from China rose 165.8 percent to 27,425 from 10,319 a year earlier data shows. The Chinese arrivals to the island have risen rapidly over the last two years with 2014 ending at an all-time high.
In 2013, 54,288 Chinese tourists visited Sri Lanka but the numbers doubled to 128,166 by the end of 2014, growing at an impressive 136.1 percent, according to the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA).
Tourists from India and Britain have outstripped arrivals from China in 2014 but experts predict China will overtake them by the end 2015.
Indian visitors rose 14.1 percent to 19,999 from 17,534 in February 2014 while 15,212 tourists came to the island from the United Kingdom, a 6.3 percent rise from last year.
Western European arrivals reached 60,777 during the month, a 15.5 percent increase from the 52,635 tourists arrived in the same month last year.
Arrivals from Eastern Europe however, declined 24.4 percent with the arrival of 17,327 tourists in February 2015 while tourist arrivals from Middle East also declined by 5.0 percent with 4,673 visitors arriving.
Tourist arrivals from East Asia increased 67.2 percent as 41,907 visited the country compared to the 25,065 visited in February 2014. Arrivals from China compared to last year increased 165.8 percent with the arrival of 27,425 visitors.
Sri Lanka exceeded its target of 1.5 million tourist arrivals last year and earned 2.2 billion US dollars from tourism.