18th February 2011, www.dailynews.lk
London’s The Independent newspaper names Sri Lanka a travel “Hot Spot” for 2011, offering suggestions for what tourists may do while visiting - from watching world-class cricket to tasting world-famous Ceylon tea - and notes that the island nation is experiencing a dramatic increase in the number of visitors.
The February 15, 2011 article, titled: “2011’s tourism hot spots: What to do in Sri Lanka,” reports that the travel guide website Lonely Planet has ranked Sri Lanka as one of its top-10 places to visit in 2011, calling it the “Jewel of the Indian Ocean.”
The article adds, “this year, Sri Lankan tourism authorities are aiming for 700,000 and by 2016 the country hopes to pull in 2.5 million overseas visitors annually, although analysts have warned that the tourism infrastructure will need improving to cope with the expected demand - there were only an estimated 15,000 rooms in the country as of March 2010. Nevertheless, 2011 looks as if it will be a bright year for Sri Lankan tourism, with officials laying on different events every month to drum up interest as part of the “Visit Sri Lanka Year”.
Tourism is a major industry in Sri Lanka and is set to grow even more in the coming years, The Independent states.
Last month, tourist arrivals to the country were up by 46 percent on the same period last year, and - fuelled by the recent end of the island’s civil war - a total of 650,000 people visited in 2010.
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