Wednesday, August 3, 2011

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Boon time for tourism

  • Wednesday, August 3, 2011
  • Aruntha Kanagaratnam
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  • Tourist arrivals in Sri Lanka have recorded a significant rise following the end to the conflict with the industry showing a 36.9 percent growth, Economic Development Deputy Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena said adding that the country had received US Dollars 585 million profit from the industry by the end of the first half of the year.

    Tourism boom

    * US $ 585 m profit

    * 2.5 m tourists arrivals targetted

    * Many programmes under way to meet demand

    “We have targeted 2.5 million tourist arrivals and total income of $2.75 billion and a large number of programmes are under way to achieve this goal,” the deputy minister said.

    According to industry sources there is a need for over 45,000 rooms to accommodate the tourists with the expected boom. At present there are only 22,735 hotel rooms and all measures will be taken to finish construction of another 22,500 hotel rooms within the next four years.

    A total of 381,538 tourists arrived in Sri Lanka from January to July and there were only 278,652 tourists arrivals in the corresponding period last year, the deputy minister disclosed.

    The Economic Development Ministry had estimated that by 2016 the industry will be capable of creating 500,000 direct and indirect employment opportunities through the tourism trade.

    All arrangements are in place to provide the necessary training in this respect which is vital to the tourism industry and the children of Samurdhi beneficiary families will also be recruited to these training programmes, he further added.

    The Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority Managing Director Ravi Jaufar, Samurdhi Authority Director General Bandula Thilakasiri and Sri Lanka Institute of Tourism and Hotel Management Director General Dr. Suranga Silva also participated.

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