Sri Lanka Tourism
Sri Lanka welcomes record number of tourists in 2011
COLOMBO - A record number of tourists visited Sri Lanka this year with the 800,000th visitor for 2011 arriving from London recently, marking a milestone in the country’s tourism records.
“This is the first time ever; the tourism industry has received number of arrivals exceeding 800,000 in any given year,” said a tourism statement. According to Sri Lanka Tourism, the country’s official tourism body, the total number of tourists visiting the country last year was 654,476, and this year’s growth has jumped by 33.1 per cent .
After 28 years of internal conflict that ended in 2009, Sri Lanka has emerged as one of the hottest tourism destinations in the region. Launching its campaign “Refreshingly Sri Lanka – Visit 2011”, at the beginning of this year, Lanka has marketed its location, natural resources along with its new-found freedom promoting eight segments and experiences tourists can experience in eight days. This year the most number of tourists arrived from neighbouring India followed by visitors from the Middle East, Japan, Germany, UK, France, the Netherlands and Italy.
A five-year strategic development plan has been launched for the tourism sector by Minister of Economic Development Basil Rajapaksa promoting diversity, compactness and authenticity of the island.
“During this five-year period the country targets to attract $3,000 million worth Foreign Direct investment (FDI) from tourism sector most of which will be invested in tourism infrastructure development. There will be an increase in the foreign exchange earnings from $500 million in 2010 to $2.75 billion by the year 2016. A huge increase is expected in the tourism related employment from 125,000 in 2010 to 500,000 by 2016,” said Sri Lanka Tourism.
The government plans to achieve the target number of 2.5 million tourists by 2016 and expects the tourism industry to take a leap in the next five years.