COLOMBO, Feb. 8 (Xinhua) -- Sri Lanka's tourist arrivals increased by 12.6 percent in January when compared to the same period last year, with over 24,000 Chinese tourists visiting the island country, statistics from the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority showed here Thursday.
China remained the second largest market with the number of tourist arrivals, while India and Britain were also among the top markets.
Over 2.1 million tourists arrived in Sri Lanka last year which included 268,952 Chinese tourists.
Tourism Minister John Amaratunga said China was a strong market for Sri Lanka. He hoped to attract at least 1 million tourists from China, per year, by 2020.
According to a recent statement from the Tourism Ministry, tourist arrivals to Sri Lanka reached an all-time high of 2,116,407 in 2017 which represented a 3.2 percent growth compared to the previous year.
"The higher number of arrivals has been achieved despite serious set-backs to the tourism industry right throughout 2017. The first setback was the partial closure of the country's main airport from January to April where many airlines either scaled down operation or completely halted flights to Colombo," the ministry said.