COLOMBO, Aug. 5 (Xinhua) -- China grabbed the number one spot with the most number of tourist arrivals to Sri Lanka with over 30,000 tourists arriving in the month of July, Sri Lanka's tourism development authority said on Friday.
Statistics showed that tourist arrivals from China for the month of July grew 21.9 percent compared to the same month last year.
Last year 25,120 tourists arrived from China in the month of July.
India came in second with over 27,000 tourists arriving in the island nation last month, a 12.1 percent growth from the same period last year.
Overall, Sri Lanka's tourist arrivals increased by 19.1 percent in July this year compared to the same period last year exceeding one million tourists arrivals so far this year.
Statistics showed that In the first seven months of this year 1,173,618 tourists visited the island compared to the 1,005,855 visited in the corresponding period of 2015, recording an increase of 16.7 percent.
Tourist arrivals from North America increased by 25.6 percent to 10,249 in July while 77,862 people visited from Western Europe registering a 20 percent increase in arrivals during the month. Most of the tourists came from UK, Germany and France.
Sri Lanka's Tourism Minister, John Amaratunga recently announced that it expects a heavy influx of Chinese tourists to Sri Lanka this year and will continue mega promotional campaigns in major cities across China.
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.
This is the second 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 said.