Tourism begin to bloom in Sri Lanka

Ancient Jaffna Fort
(February 22, Colombo - Lanka Polity)  The January performance of Sri Lankan hotels has been excellent, with arrivals reaching 50,750, which is a 32 percent increase on last January. The main contribution to this increase has been the British market (24.6 percent increase), Germany (54 percent) and India (73.5 percent). January and February are two of the busiest months in the tourism calendar, which is the peak of the high season. Better performance is expected in February.

Meanwhile, the state-run English weekly Sunday Observer quoted Tourism Minister Achala Jagoda as saying nearly 550,000 local and foreign tourists had toured Jaffna via A-9 road during last week.

The number quoted has come as a surprise to observers particularly since the Northern Province is still virtually out of bounds for foreigners and there is very little tourism infrastructure on the ground in the war-ravaged province.

Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapaksa said recntly in an interview with The Hindu "I have set new targets for tourism. I called the Tourism Board and said I was not satisfied with the present [rate of development]. I want to call the private sector. They're going to the Maldives and various other countries to invest their money. I am going to tell them to invest here. I want to get Indian companies, the Tatas and others, to invest in Sri Lanka."


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