By P Krishna Kumar, New Delhi, 01st August 2009, www.hospitalitybizindia.com
Sri Lanka expects a boom in inbound travel in the coming years, as the civil war that was raging for over two decades, has come to an end. Sri Lankan Tourism estimates that the number of inbound travellers will double in the next two years and will reach one million in 2011. According to Romesh Jayasinghe, Sri Lanka’s High Commissioner to India, the Sri Lankan government has chalked out both short and long-term plans in order to develop the tourism infrastructure in areas, which were occupied by the LTTE. He was speaking to the media while launching ‘Meet in Sri Lanka Campaign’ by Sri Lanka Convention Bureau and Sri Lankan Airlines in New Delhi recently.
Jayasinghe said, “We hope our tourism footfalls to double after places in the eastern and northern part of the country become accessible to the tourists. Sri Lanka’s eastern part was open to tourists since 2007. The northern part was cut off and was inaccessible for civilians till recently. Now civilians can visit these places. Tourists can experience the best beaches in the country’s east, including Trincomalee harbour,” Jayasinghe said.
Jayasinghe informed that the country has invested heavily in tourism infrastructure and products, including world class hospitality schools, to serve the tourism industry. “We are looking forward to strengthen our tourism sector with the support of various stakeholders.”
Speaking to Hospitality Biz, Prema Cooray, Chairman, Sri Lanka Tourism, said that a major plan is afoot to develop three places in the eastern part of the country. They are Trincomalee, Passekudah in Batticaloa, and Arugam Bay. He said, “Recently, 13 hotel developers have come forward and identified Passekudah, which will see major developments. When asked about the impact of global trends on tourism footfalls to the island nation last year, the Chairman informed that there was a ‘dip in tourist arrivals.’ “It could be either due to financial slowdown or the civil war in the country. Sri Lanka will observe 2011 as Visit Sri Lanka year,” he informed