The tourism industry recorded a total turnover of US$ 450 million in 2009 an increase of over 20 percent growth compared to the corresponding year, Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) Director General, S. Kalaiselvam told Daily News Business.
He said this year the SLTDA is targeting around 575,000 tourist arrivals while targeting an income of US$ 600 million. During January the number of tourist arrivals recorded 50,757 which is a 31.9 percent increas compared to 2008 January tourist arrivals. Most of the tourists were from the countries such as India, UK and Germany.
Kalaiselvam said compared to the number of tourist arrivals during last month 9,141 tourists were from India, which is a 73.5 percent increase. Secondly the UK recorded 8,225 tourist arrivals with an increase of 24.6 percent and German tourist arrivals were 4,470 whilst recording an increase of a 54.1 percent.
He said with the dawn of peace, the tourism industry has shown a significant increase and has potential to grow further. The opening of Northern and the Eastern province has brought positive hopes to Sri Lanka s tourism.
The majority of the tourists that are visiting the Northern and the Eastern province are local tourists and this has shown much confidence in the domestic tourism as well.
Over 500 people visit Jaffna daily from various parts of the island. At present, several islands at Kalpitiya in the North Western Province have been given to two investors and the balance will be given to the other investors by the end of this month on a 30-year lease, Kalaiselvam said.
He said the Kalpitiya island tourist resorts will attract tourists to this area for clean beaches, secluded privacy and the quiet atmosphere that could be enjoyed by tourists who come from busy industrialized countries. This project will provide many opportunities to develop tourism and the hotel industry.
The reform in the Colombo city hotel room rates has been a very successful as it has benefited the hotel industry and the entire tourism industry. This has also created a platform for hoteliers to start their businesses and to have market stabilization, he said.
The Director General said through the increased developments in these medium and long-term investments of the hotels, resorts, inns, islands and restaurants it would help expand the Gross Domestic Production (GDP), foreign exchange earnings, job opportunities within the areas and as a result the per capita income of the people will also increase substantially.