The Ministry of Culture and tourism of China announced on 20 January 2023 that Sri Lanka will be included among the countries in its outbound tourism pilot programme which will commence from 6 February 2023.
Only a limited number of countries have been included in this list and this listing is a reflection of the close bonds between the two countries. The Embassy has consistently made representations to have Sri Lanka included in such a list.
The tourism industry of Sri Lanka which suffered a catastrophic decline following the Covid19 pandemic now has the opportunity to recover rapidly. In 2019, 169 million Chinese nationals travelled outside the Chinese mainland. Today there is a tremendous pent up urge to travel among the Chinese and large numbers are expected to undertake vacation travel.
The Sri Lanka Embassy in Beijing is continuing its multi faceted efforts to promote Sri Lanka tourism despite the limited resources available, including during Ambassador Dr Palitha Kohona’s visits to different provinces and cities. The electronic (TV) and the print media (including the national dailies) as well as widely popular social media platforms of Douyin, Tiktok and Alibaba are also regularly used to promote Sri Lanka. The Embassy has also established working relations with over 12 leading travel operators. Talks are at an advanced stage to shoot a feature film highlighting Sri Lanka’s fabled tourist attractions, including its world renowned Buddhist sites, abundant wild life, tea covered mountains, precious gems, pristine beaches, hospitality etc.
The Charge de Affairs of the Embassy, K.K.Yoganaadan, welcomed the announcement of the Chinese government. He encouraged Chinese travellers to choose Sri Lanka as it’s a very popular tropical destination especially during the winter months.
Ambassador Dr. Kohona stated that the re emerging tourism industry will be a welcome boost to the economy of Sri Lanka and expressed his appreciation to the Chinese government for including Sri Lanka in the pilot programme.
The countries listed for travel by the Chinese government are Thailand, Indonesia, Cambodia, Maldives, Sri Lanka, Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore, Laos, United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Kenya, South Africa, Russia, Switzerland, Hungary, New Zealand, Fiji, Cuba and Argentina.