Sri Lanka is planning to launch an aggressive promotion campaign in China this year as part of its tsunami recovery drive, the marketing director of the island's tourist board, Malraj Kiriella, said. The marketing efforts will coincide with Sri Lankan Airlines starting flights to Beijing in June, making the country much more accessible to mainlanders. 'We have many Buddhist cultural sites as well as restaurants that would appeal to the Chinese,' Mr Kiriella said on the sidelines of the conference. The tsunami that struck on December 26 damaged 4,000 of the 14,000 hotel rooms in Sri Lanka. 'Most of them are operating again,' Mr Kiriella said. 'Everything is returning to normal.' He was confident the industry would make a full recovery. After welcoming a record 566,000 tourists last year, Sri Lanka aims to attract 600,000 this year. Already, figures for last month showed a 31 per cent year-on-year jump in tourist arrivals. 'Last year it could have been better if not for the tsunami,' Mr Kiriella said. After the tsunami, the Sri Lanka Tourist Board embarked on the Bounce Back Sri Lanka campaign to rebuild confidence among tourism professionals and the media. These efforts have included inviting celebrities from Europe to visit Sri Lanka and witness the recovery. About 55 per cent of tourists to Sri Lanka are from western Europe. But the Asian region is becoming increasingly important, especially since a ceasefire in 2002 ended two decades of civil war. Today, India was the second largest market for Sri Lanka's tourism sector, after Britain, Mr Kiriella said. 'Japan and China are becoming more and more important.'