The revenue generated from the Tourism Industry had shown a 22 % increase as against the previous year and has reached US $ 720 million by September 2012. The country is looking at increasing this to US $ one billion by the end of this year. Up to September, there had been 693, 000 arrivals.
Chairman, Sri Lanka Tourism Promotions Bureau, Baswara Gunaratne, speaking to the Daily News Business, said that September last year, the industry’s earnings had been US $ 582.5 million and year-end total was US $ 840 million.
The country saw 855, 975 arrivals last year. He said that the industry had seen 200 new business proposals from companies, both local and international for new BOI ventures concerning tourism this year and this alone showed the potential and interest generated towards the industry.’
Today Sri Lanka is no longer a cheap destination and major global players like Shangri La, Hyatt and even Four Seasons have established their presence,’ he said.
He said one of the main reasons for their presence was the permanent peace in Sri Lanka, which existed during the past three years and also the political stability.
‘In addition, the Colombo City beautification scheme, the resurrecting of abandoned colonial buildings such as the Dutch Hospital and Race Course to its past glory, the Southern Highway and the mammoth development that had changed the perspective of the country to a positive one.
In addition, the opening of the East Coast and the Wilpattu National Park, had given more value to Sri Lanka as a destination.
He said that they would also look at WTM not only to consolidate the UK market, but also Europe and was optimistic that Sri Lanka could achieve 2.5 million arrivals by 2016 and by that time, Sri Lanka would have added 15, 000 star class rooms.