By end November this year, 445,000 tourists flocked into the country and hotels were running out of rooms, as Sri Lanka inched closer to the elusive half a million target.
This was still up on the 350,988 visitors as at end November last year, with the tourism sector confident that it will reach about 550,000 by December 2003.rn
rnThe rush was fuelled largely by holidaying Indians, legions of British cricket fans and Scandinavians, who travelled despite political uncertainty on home ground.rn
rnPolitical instability broke out in October with the President sacking the Ministers of Defence, Media and Interior and derailing a 22-month ceasefire. rn
rnCancellations of bookings followed while many deferred travel to the country. But the peak winter holiday season and a cricket tour has pulled in the numbers.rn
rnOccupancies are well over an average 75 percent, with many hotels in the South, in Negombo and on the West Coast seeing near full levels, President of the Associated Hotels Company,