COLOMBO, Dec. 7 (Xinhua) -- Chinese tourist arrivals to Sri Lanka witnessed a 3.5 percent growth last month when compared to the same period last year, with over 19,200 visitors arriving in the island country, statistics from the Sri Lanka Tourism Ministry showed here Thursday.
China has been Sri Lanka's second largest market for the most number of tourist arrivals with 249,000 Chinese tourists arriving so far this year.
India has continued to be the leading market while Europe and Britain have also witnessed a growth in recent years.
Sri Lanka has become a famous tourist destination among Chinese travelers and the government hopes to attract at least 1 million Chinese tourists per year by 2020.
The Sri Lankan government is anticipating higher numbers this month due to the festive season and has announced a grand Tourism Fest which will be held in capital Colombo during December.
Tourism Minister John Amaratunga said the aim of this event was to promote Sri Lankan food, culture, gems, handicrafts, tea, shopping and entertainment during the height of the tourism season.
Sri Lanka's tourism industry has witnessed a boom since the end of the country's three decade long civil war which ended in May 2009.
Over 1.8 million tourists have arrived in the country so far this year while the government is expecting to achieve a 2.5 million arrival target by the end of 2017 and a 5 million arrival target by 2020.
According to the Central Bank, Sri Lanka has earned over 2 billion U.S. dollars from tourism so far this year.