CHINA overtook India as the leading source market for visitors to Sri Lanka last month, with arrivals up 48.5 per cent to 58,269 in February against India's 29.1 per cent growth to 55,454.
Among the factors contributing to China’s performance is the number of Chinese companies that have recently embarked on billion-dollar infrastructure projects in Sri Lanka.
Reacting to the surge, Renuka Koswatta, general manager of Best Western, Colombo, said the hotel group has plans to cater to Chinese visitors with special menus in Mandarin or Cantonese. Many resorts are also preparing to hire Chinese speakers and introduce specialty Chinese restaurants.
Veteran hotelier Malin Hapugoda, now executive consultant for RIU Resorts in Sri Lanka and the Maldives, explained that while China is currently the “biggest travelling nation” in general, there is also a tendency for these visitors to be attracted to more China-friendly nations, such as Sri Lanka.
China is expected to maintain the lead as the top source market for visitors to Sri Lanka this year.