COLOMBO, Jan. 9 (Xinhua) -- Final data for 2011 shows that Sri Lanka attracted 855,975 tourists, which is over 100,000 extra arrivals than targeted and likely to push this year's arrivals over the one million mark, an official said here on Monday.
Sri Lankan Tourism Chairman Dr. Nalaka Godahewa told media that the sector is extremely upbeat regarding the historic landmark that was achieved in 2011. Sri Lanka's tourism industry has been booming since a three decade war ended in 2009.
The tourism industry has since boomed attracting 850 million U. S. dollar investment in 2011. The government hopes to expand this to one million U.S. dollars in 2012 making tourism one of the top foreign exchange earners.
In 2011, the key market contributing to the rising arrivals was India, which brought in 171,374 tourists to the country. India was followed by the United Kingdom with 106,082 tourists and 55,882 from Germany.
The 95,517 visitors in December also broke the single month record of 90,889 achieved in November but the industry suffered a hiccup when a British tourist was murdered, allegedly by a provincial level politician, in the southern part of the country on Christmas eve.
"However we are confident that tourists' numbers will reach the one million mark in 2012. We want to target more up market travelers from India and increase arrivals from China," said Godahewa.