Sri Lanka-China Tourism Relations An Analysis of Recent Trends in Chinese Tourist Arrivals to Sri Lanka
Tourism is widely recognised as one of the world’s largest and fastest growing industries, accounting for approximately 10% of the global GDP, and employing a growing workforce of 283.5 million. In the context of Sri Lanka, the tourism sector is the 3rd largest foreign income earner and the total contribution to the economy is around 12% of GDP. This paper examines the recent trends in Chinese tourist arrivals to Sri Lanka along with the comparative position of Sri Lanka as an outbound tourism destination of China. It is observed that during the period of 1984 – 1994, Germany held the number one spot in Sri Lanka’s tourist arrivals. Until 2004, Germany, India and the UK were the ‘top 3’ countries among Sri Lanka’s tourist arrivals, and China’s contribution to local tourism was insignificant. In 2014, however, China was raised to the rank of the 3rd major tourist partner of Sri Lanka, accountingfor 8.4% of total tourist arrivals. Moreover, Chinese tourist arrivals grew remarkably by 72.5% in 2010-2016, while Indian and UK tourist arrivals increased only by 19.3% and 10.3%, respectively. Furthermore, tourist arrivals from China increased by 68% in 2015 compared to 2014, while Indian tourist arrivals grew only by 30%. Despite the impressive growth rate in Chinese tourist arrivals to Sri Lanka, these numbers are negligible in comparison to Chinese outbound tourism to other countries. Even though Sri Lanka was among the top 25 tourist destinations of Chinese travellers in 2007, it no longer holds this valuable position. Thus, this study recommends promoting Sri Lankan tourism destinations, e-tourism sites, improving air-connectivity between the two countries and cultivating tourism-friendly ‘soft power’ by celebrating festivals such as Chinese New Year, increasing the number of Chinese-speaking guides and hotel staff and introducing Chinese-language apps for tourists in order to multiply prospective tourists from China.
How to Cite:
Deyshappriya, N.P.R., Damanupola, A.A.K.A. and Kumari, M.M.T.D.M., 2019. Sri Lanka-China Tourism Relations An Analysis of Recent Trends in Chinese Tourist Arrivals to Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka Journal of Advanced Social Studies, 9(1), pp.49–60. DOI: http://doi.org/10.4038/sljass.v9i1.7147
30 Dec 2019.