Colombo – The number of tourists visiting Sri Lanka has increased steadily and is expected to cross 7.11 lakh this year, the immigration department has said, attributing it to the improving law and order situation.
“Despite adverse travel advisories by some countries, the tourists arrivals here have only increased substantially depicting the return of peace in the country,” the Controller, Visa, of Sri Lankan Department of Immigration and Emigration, Damayanthi Jayaratne said.
Meanwhile, the Sri Lankan Tourism (SLT)said an earlier travel advisory imposed by the government of Belgium advising visitors to refrain from non-essential travel to Sri Lanka has been revised since Friday, August 29th last month.
“The new advisory allows tour operators from Belgium to market Sri Lanka aggressively for the upcoming winter season,” it said adding the relaxed travel advisory only mentions travel restrictions to the North and the Eastern regions and Yala.
“It is hoped that the Belgium travel advisory will result in similar relaxations of travel advisory from other European nations as well,” the SLT said in a statement.
Jayaratne said for many foreigners Sri Lanka was a “dream land” with its vast stretches of sea coasts and availability of good infrastructure.
“We have already issued 5.19 lakh tourist visas for foreigner till August 31, 2008 and the tourist season is yet to come,” Jayaratne said adding there were encouraging signs of the levels easily crossing the last years mark of 7.11 lakh.