China has included Sri Lanka in a pilot program to resume its outbound tourism by groups from 6 February.
The Chinese Embassy said the move by its Ministry of Culture and Tourism on Friday was to firmly support the tourism industry and economic recovery of Sri Lanka. It also said the inclusion of Sri Lanka is a milestone after nearly three years of outbound travel suspension by China as part of its zero-tolerance on COVID-19 pandemic.
Daily FT last week in an exclusive report quoted Sri Lanka’s Consul General in Shanghai Anura Fernando as saying that 50 travel agents and influencers from China are to visit Sri Lanka in March followed by a 500-member group of religious tourists.
In crisis-free 2018, tourist arrivals from China at 265,965 was the second largest for Sri Lanka. It fell to 167,863 in 2019 owing to the Easter Sunday terror attacks.
In 2018 China emerged as the world’s top spender on outbound travel worth $ 277 billion.