Mar 02, Colombo: The first major group of leisure travelers to Sri Lanka from China after the COVID-19 pandemic arrived in the isalnd on Wednesday by a special SriLankan Airlines aircraft.
SriLankan Airlines welcomed the group of Chinese tourists arrived in the country after the Chinese authorities relaxed outbound travel restrictions.
The group consisting 120 tourists arrived on UL1881 Wednesday from Guangzhou on an 8-day tour.
Tourism Minister Harin Fernando, State Minister of Foreign Affairs Tharaka Balasuriya and the Chinese Ambassador to Sri Lanka came to the Bandaranaike International Airport to welcome the group.
Thus, Sri Lanka has become one of the first 20 countries to resume organizing outbound tourist groups from China. It is expected to bring 5,000 Chinese tourists to the island this year.
From the first of next month, flights between China and Sri Lanka will be operated by SriLankan and China Eastern Airlines each with 9 flights per week.
According to the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority, tourist arrivals during February 2023 surpass 107,600 visitors, an 11.5% increase in comparison to February 2022. The total number of tourist arrivals for 2023 as of February’s end is 210,184.