Sri Lanka Minister of Tourism John Amaratunga believes that Sri Lankan tourism growth will be stimulated by an ambitious program of investments into the country’s infrastructure.
“I am pleased about the fast development of our tourism. We welcomed last year close to 2.2 million international arrivals, up by 3.5% over 2016, and we are targeting to pass the 2.5 million mark this year. We have thousands of new hotel rooms to be added in the near future. Tourism is today our third largest source of foreign exchange,” Amaratunga said.
India was the largest inbound market for Sri Lanka, followed by China, the UK, Germany and France. “Europe remains an extremely important source market for us. It continued to grow last year by 6%, representing over 660,000 travellers to our country. Although we experienced a small decrease out of Germany, we came in large numbers to ITB Berlin to show our commitment to the German and European market,” added the Minister.
Sri Lanka Tourism and Promotion Board is launching a worldwide marketing and communication which will run until April. It will be followed by a digital advertising campaign for Sri Lanka’s five top markets in May, while a new global campaign will be launched early next year.
“We want to emphasize that Sri Lanka is a summer holiday destination 365 days a year. Three words characterize Sri Lanka: authenticity-compactnessdiversity,” said Amaratunga.
Sports, nature tourism, traditions with festivals as well as Ayurveda are the main themes promoted by the SLTPB in its future campaigns. A major boost to tourism is the commitment of the government to the development of infrastructures. “We are currently reclaiming Colombo Harbour. In the next two years, we will have along our waterfront state-ofthe art infrastructures including a convention hall, a deluxe hotel as well as a shopping mall and entertainment facilities,” Amaratunga explained.
“We are also embarked into a highway development project, the enlargement of Colombo International Airport as well as modernizing domestic airports. This is an unprecedented effort”.