|Ancient Jaffna Fort|
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."