Monday, May 31, 2010

Sri Lanka to double the tourism income by 2015

By - Editor: Tang Danlu
COLOMBO, May 30 (Xinhua) -- Sri Lanka expects to double its tourism income by 2015 as most of the countries have relaxed their travel advisories to Sri Lanka following the conclusion of a bloody civil war, a government minister said Sunday.

Laskman Yap.a Abeywardena, the newly appointed Deputy Minister of Economic Development told reporters that Sri Lanka's present income earned from tourism is 400 million U.S dollars annually.

"We will target an income of 1,000 million dollars from the tourism industry by 2015," said Abeywardena.

Abeywardena said since the successful completion of the war against the rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Ealam (LTTE), who had been fighting for a separate Tamil homeland in the north and east since the 1980s, most European countries as well as the United States have relaxed their travel advisories to Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka has introduced several local and overseas programs to promote the country's tourism industry after ending the war in May 2009, Abeywardena said, adding that another program will be launched shortly to promote "Travel Sri Lanka" around the world.

He said that at present only 500,000 tourists are visiting the island annually and the government expects to increase it up to 2. 5 million with the help of all promotional programs.

Dileep Mudadeniya, managing director of the Sri Lankan Tourism Promotion Bureau, said tourist arrivals increased by 50 percent in the first quarter of 2010 as a result of the peaceful situation and the government's promotion.

Mudadeniya said several global events including World Surfing Qualifying Competition 2010 which would be held at Arugam Bay in the eastern coast and the Indian International Film Academy Festival are also coming to Sri Lanka with the end of the war.

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