Home » Tourism Development Authority to attract over 900,000 Chinese tourists

Tourism Development Authority to attract over 900,000 Chinese tourists

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Sri Lanka hopes to attract over 900,000 tourists by the end of this year as the country works toward restoring normalcy following recent economic and political instability, the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) said on Wednesday.

SLTDA Chairperson Priantha Fernando said in a statement that Sri Lanka aims to attract at least 972,475 tourists by the end of 2022.

“We are not happy with the arrival figures over the last nine months. It is a gradual build-up, fighting against the negativity,” Fernando said.

“However efforts are being taken to increase the influx of international visitors for the remaining months of the year,” he added.

Sri Lanka’s tourist arrivals faced a drastic drop in September, when only 29,802 visitors entered the country despite the relaxation of travel restrictions imposed by key source markets.

According to industry experts, the country is well behind its competitors in the region in its tourism sector recovery.

Competing nations such as the Maldives have been welcoming well over 100,000 tourists on a monthly basis for the past several months, while tourist arrivals to Sri Lanka have been ranging from 30,000 to 60,000, official statistics have shown.

Tourism, one of Sri Lanka’s leading foreign exchange earners, has suffered a setback due to the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic and political crises.

China’s Ambassador to Sri Lanka Qi Zhenhong today assured former President Mahinda Rajapaksa that Chinese tourists would begin to visit Sri Lanka soon as China’s COVID-19 common policy allows.

The Chinese envoy paid a courtesy call on Mahinda Rajapaksa where the two discussed a wide range of issues in relation to further strengthening the cordial relations between Sri Lanka and the People’s Republic of China.

During the discussions, Rajapaksa handed over a congratulatory letter addressed to President Xi Jinping, wishing him for the upcoming 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China which will be a new milestone in China’s socialist construction.

Ambassador thanked Rajapaksa for his best wishes and said Sri Lanka and China had shared a long history of friendship, trust and mutual understanding which was evident in their relationship even to date.

Ambassador Qi also noted that Sri Lanka was presently facing difficulties but said he was confident the country would restore normalcy soon.He also assured of China’s assistance for Sri Lanka to overcome its challenges.

Rajapaksa also raised the issue of Sri Lankans travelling to China, and Chinese tourists to the island, to which Ambassador Qi responded saying Sri Lankan businessmen and students have already been given visas to return to China and the Chinese tourists will come back to the island as soon as China’s COVID-19 common policy allows.

The SLPP leader and the Chinese Envoy also discussed international relations at the current crucial moment, and both agreed that the SLPP and the CPC should further enhance exchanges and collaboration especially for the youth members.

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