Many Indian and Chinese tourists are visiting Sri Lanka far more than before. There is a lot of potential in the tourist industry judging by the tourist arrivals in the country where more than one million tourists arrived during the past six months, a 16 per cent increase from last year. There are more Indians and Chinese tourists visiting the country today than before, said the Chairman of the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau, Paddy Withana, Chief Guest at the 24th Annual General Meeting of the Institute of Hospitality, Lanka International Branch held at the Ramada Hotel in Colombo recently.
He said Sri Lanka has been named as one of the top 10 travel destinations in the world for 2016 by travel magazines. “What we expect from tourism is for the benefits to trickle down to people in the country and want the private sector to get involved with tourism.” Referring to the opening of the Batticaloa airport in the East coast recently, he said tourists now have the opportunity to visit the picturesque Passikudah Bay and its resorts. “We are looking at the top end of the market segment and other markets as well. We know that young people visit the country several times when they have steady jobs and more money.” He said plans are afoot to make Arugam Bay, a surfing destination in the world.
Chairman of the International Institute of Hospitality, Sri Lanka branch, Sidath Kodikara said that the average tourist spending in Sri Lanka has increased. “India has become the most significant source market for tourists in Sri Lanka followed by China, United Kingdom, Germany, Maldives and France. These six countries have accounted for 54.8 percent of tourist arrivals to Sri Lanka.” He said in line with the government’s target, hotel rooms will be increased to 80,000 with tourist arrivals expected to reach 4.5 million. Employees working for the tourist industry will also be increased up to 800,000 by year 2020.
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