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UPDATED: 11:59, July 24, 2004
China to become No.1 inbound tourist source of Sri Lanka by 2010
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Sri Lanka will see more tourists from China than any other country by 2010, visiting Anura Bandaranaike, Sri Lankan minister of Industry, Tourism and Investment Promotion, said at a press conference Friday in Beijing.

Compared to the previous year, Sri Lanka received 67 percent more Chinese tourists in 2003 when it acquired Approved Destination Status (ADS) from China, said Bandaranaike. China has

been listed by Sri Lanka as its top ten inbound tourist source countries.

"I believe there is still room for increase," said the minister, citing the World Tourism Organization's prediction that over 130 million Chinese will travel abroad by 2020.

He noted that his country, with time-honored Buddhism tradition and heritage, will certainly attract Chinese tourists from a similar cultural background.

According to Bandaranaike, the Sri Lankan government considers Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, China's most prosperous cities, as targets for tourism promotions. It also tries to attract more Chinese tourists by simplifying visa procedures, adding new airlines and marketing packages.

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