Sri Lanka expects a heavy influx of Chinese tourists this year and is aiming to launch a mega promotional campaign in China by May, Tourism Minister John Amaratunga said here on Saturday.
Chinese tourist arrivals in the island nation has seen a rising trend since the end of the country's 30 years civil conflict in 2009 and last month China topped the most number of tourist arrivals.
Statistics released from the country's tourism promotion bureau revealed that the number of Chinese tourists, including those from Hong Kong and Macau, rose 17.4 percent to 32,186 in February compared to the 26,083 who arrived in January.
This is the first time that China has taken the number one spot and outnumbered visitors from India who had been leading with the most number of tourist arrivals.
"China is a very important market for us and we are expecting a huge number this year. We are also making the necessary preparations to deal with the large numbers," Amaratunga told Xinhua.
A delegation led by Amaratunga will visit China in May to launch a mega promotional campaign to promote Sri Lanka tourism. During the visit the minister is also expected to hold discussions with the Chinese Tourism Minister and extend an invitation to visit the island nation.