Monday, May 24, 2010

Sri Lanka expects tourism revenues to double next five years

May 23, Colombo: The Sri Lankan government expects the income from tourism sector to be doubled in the next five years, a minister said.

Deputy Minister of Economic Development Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena said the government's target is to increase the tourism revenues up to two billion US dollars. Sri Lanka currently earns over 400 million US dollars annually from the tourism sector.

At present about half a million foreign tourists visit Sri Lanka annually and the government hopes increase the number to over 2.5 million in the coming years.

The Tourism Board says it is hoping to attract 2.5 million visitors by 2016 and to earn 2 billion-dollar annual income from tourism by 2016.

Sri Lanka has been experiencing an influx of tourists following the conclusion of the 30-years-long war between its security forces and the separatist Tamil Tigers last May.

The tourist arrivals have been steadily increasing since the end of the war and recent data from the Tourist Board has shown that Sri Lanka's tourist arrivals jumped by 50.3 percent in the first quarter of 2010 compared to a year earlier. In March tourist arrivals reached 52,352, up by 53.7 percent from a 34,065 a year earlier.

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