Friday, December 14, 2012

Lanka achieves golden double in tourism

US $ 1 billion revenue, 1 million arrivals:

Shirajiv Sirimane

For the first time Sri Lanka would pass the one million mark in tourist arrivals by tomorrow. Sri Lanka would also earn US $ one billion revenue by the end of the year.

Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardane and Rumi Jaufer Picture by Sudath Nishantha

Last year Sri Lanka recorded 855,000 arrivals and the target for 2013 is 1.3 million. Deputy Minister of Economic Development Lakshman Yapa Abeywardane said that they were targeting the one million arrival mark at the end of the year and this proves the tourist attraction for Sri Lanka.

“The publicity Sri Lanka gained though magazines like Lonely Planet and other means had helped to increase arrivals,” he said.

The minister also said that visits by duel citizens and transit passengers were not taken into consideration in deriving the one million arrival mark.

He also said they had planned a special Maldivian new year package to achieve the million arrival mark but have now discontinued it.

Yapa said that this target was achieved despite the Tamil diaspora carrying out a vigorous campaign in Britain asking people not to visit Sri Lanka “But this has failed as the UK market had increased by 3.5 %.

Managing Director, Sri Lanka Tourism Rumi Jaufer said they would achieve a revenue of US $ one billion by the end of the year.

Today, Sri Lanka is no longer a cheap destination and the spending power of tourist visiting Sri Lanka including Indians have increased,” he said. He also said British Airways which would operate direct flights to Sri Lanka from next March had identified and named Sri Lanka as the ‘top’ and ‘must visit’ destination in 2013. “This too would help boost UK arrivals.”

Commenting on the night races he said it also helps in promoting Sri Lanka and Colombo hotels have already secured over 30 % bookings for the event. He also disclosed that 3,500 new rooms were added in 2012 and this would increase by another 5,000 next year.

SLTB promotes Bentota pageant

Sri Lanka tourism would be actively promoting the Bentota Temple pageant which would be held on December 27 in Bentota. The event which has a history of over 300 years has been restarted and this year many tourists are expected to witness this event.

SLFP organizer for Bentota Elpitiya, Geetha Kumarasinghe thanked Sri Lanka Tourism for coming forward to market the event.

source -

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