COLOMBO, July 18 (Xinhua) -- Sri Lanka's Tourism Minister John Amaratunga Tuesday said direct air links with China have boosted the country's tourism market as more Chinese tourists are now choosing Sri Lanka as a holiday destination.
Amaratunga said there are direct air links between Colombo and Chinese cities without transit and the country is expecting the tourism market from China to grow further.
Due to the rapid growth of Chinese tourist arrivals, Sri Lanka's national airline carrier SriLankan Airlines has recently enhanced its services for customers in China with the launch of a local direct-dial number for the airline's customers throughout China.
China is now one of Sri Lanka's strongest tourist markets. A total of 271,577 Chinese tourists visited Sri Lanka in 2016, according to Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority statistics, making China the second-largest country of origin.
Chinese arrivals have continued to grow by over 4 percent during the first five months of 2017, with 117,539 arrivals, according to the statistics.