COLOMBO, Jan. 3 (Xinhua) -- Sri Lanka received 2.3 million tourists last year, with December recording the highest number of arrivals with over 250,000 tourists, a statement from the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) said Thursday.
According to official data, Sri Lanka's tourist arrivals during 2018 had registered a 10.3 percent growth, reaching 2.3 million compared to 2.1 million tourist arrivals in 2017.
India, China, Britain and Germany continued to be the leading markets in 2018 while a significant growth was also seen from Australia.
In terms of monthly arrivals in 2018, March, February, June, and November recorded the highest growth rates compared to 2017, while December recorded the highest number of arrivals within the year.
"Although the tourist arrivals for the year 2018 was fallen slightly short due to the political instability we saw post Oct. 26, I think in terms of earnings we have reached the 3.5 billion dollar target," Minister of Tourism Development John Amaratunga said.
On Wednesday, Amaratunga said the tourism sector was targeting 3 million tourists in 2019 with an earning of 4 billion U.S. dollars by the end of the year.
He said the ministry had organized massive promotional campaigns in India and China throughout the year and they were confident to receive a higher number of tourists from these destinations as Sri Lanka had transformed into a popular tourist destination globally.