Revenue from Sri Lanka’s lucrative post-war tourism industry grew 32.2% in the first two months of this year to $161.2mn compared with the previous year, partly helped by a whopping 119.2% rise in arrivals from China, the central bank data showed yesterday.

Earnings from Sri Lanka’s tourism industry rose to $1.4bn in 2013 with 1.17mn arrivals, according to the bank.

In its latest report the central bank said income from tourism rose from $122mn in the first two months of 2014 to $161.2mn for the same period this year.

In the first two months of this year a total of 288,453 tourists arrived in the island nation recording a 28.5% increase over the corresponding period in 2013.

The top five sources of tourist arrivals in 2014 were India, the UK, China, Russia and Germany, accounting for about 42% of tourist arrivals during the first two months.

Statistics have been seen by experts as an early indication of the country reaching its 2.5mn tourist target ahead of the 2016 deadline.

China led the arrival numbers for East Asians recording a 119.2% increase with the arrival of 21,098 travellers in the first two months of the year. Only 27,627 Chinese tourists arrived in Sri Lanka in 2012, according to the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) but the numbers nearly doubled to 54,288 last year.

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