Sri Lanka raises tourism targets

SRI LANKA is expecting more than one million visitors this year, compared to the initial target of 900,000, after registering robust growth in arrivals and tourism receipts in the first quarter.

The country received 260,525 visitors in 1Q2012, a year-on-year hike of 21.1 per cent. Tourism receipts in January/February 2012 rose 28.5 per cent to US$174 million, compared to the same period last year.

Based on the latest figures, tourism revenue is expected to hit more than US$1 billion this year, according to the country’s deputy economic development minister, Lakshman Y. Abeywardena.

Yvonne Otto, director of UniqueTrex Stuttgart, said: “Since the end of the civil war, German tourists’ interest in Sri Lanka has risen manifold and we usually combine the itinerary with Maldives. We are now looking at Sri Lanka as an incentive destination.”

Julia Geffers, director, hotel member services, Relais & Chateaux, said: “We have six member properties in India and one in Sri Lanka, and believe that our European clients are very interested in this subcontinent for their holidays. We are in the process of identifying more properties in Sri Lanka and India that will be in synergy with our brand.”

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