Sri Lanka expects record tourist arrivals this year: official

July 03, 2010 (LBO) – Sri Lanka expects to get 600,000 tourists this year with the end of a 30-year war making the island an attractive destination once again, a senior tourism official said. Kalaiselvam said the country has accommodation to cater to only 750,000 tourists a year and that 3,000 more rooms would be built by 2012. S Kalaiselvam, director general of Sri Lanka Tourism, said tourist arrivals could hit a record high this year if the rapid increase in the number of visitors continues.

He was speaking at a news conference held to announce the World Spice Food Festival starting on July 16 in Colombo.

Sri Lanka’s ethnic war ended in May 2009, resulting in an immediate revival in the number tourists visiting the island.

Hotels have begun refurbishing their properties and expanding to cater to the anticipated influx of visitors.

The island’s highest number of arrivals so far was in 2004 when it had 550,000 visitors.