COLOMBO, Aug. 14 (Xinhua) -- Tourist arrivals from China to Sri Lanka grew by 7.3 percent in the first half of 2008 over the same period a year ago, Sri Lanka's national carrier SriLankan Airlines said Thursday in a statement.
Figures from the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority showed that the island attracted 5,383 Chinese tourists for the first half of 2008, comparing with the 5,016 Chinese tourists recorded in the same period of 2007.
The increase came as Sri Lanka's tourist arrivals dropped 0.2 percent to 224,363 in the first six months of 2008 from the same period of last year.
SriLankan Airlines is closely supporting the government's drive to promote Sri Lanka as a tourist destination to the Chinese people as the Chinese tourism market is being viewed as one of the fastest growing markets.
The government-owned SriLankan Airlines serves China with thrice-weekly flights to Beijing, and another three to Hong Kong.
The statement said the airline actively participated in several travel fairs in China this year, including the Beijing International Tourism Expo and the Guangzhou International Travel Fair.
The airline also co-organized a workshop for travel agents in the Chinese capital Beijing in June.