China has overtaken Japan as Sri Lanka’s top tourist market in East Asia generating more tourists from around September 2012, official data show.

In February 2013, arrivals from China rose 57.9 percent to 6,145 compared to a growth of 12.2 percent to 4,724 by Japan.

Japan has been Sri Lanka’s top generating market in East Asia in the past, but from around September 2012 China has tended to generate more tourists than Japan.

In the six months to February 2013 China generated 17,978 arrivals compared to 14,938 from Japan.

In the 12 months to Japan Chinese arrivals rose 58 percent to 25,781 compared to rise of 26.7 percent to 26,085 in Japan.

Sri Lanka is targeting 60,000 visitors from China, or an ambitious 100 percent plus increase in 2013 amid an overall target of 1.2 million tourists which is a 20 percent expected annual increase.

In the first two months of the year arrivals grew 12.5 percent to 190,643.

Economic analysts say currency depreciation or unsound money is the key tool of poverty creation practiced by the architects of the ‘welfare state’ in Western Europe.