Sri Lanka expects US$850mn from tourism in 2011

Dec 30, 2011 (LBO) – Sri Lanka expects to earn 850 million US dollars from tourists in 2011 with annual arrivals expected to reach 830,000 an increase of 26 percent from a year earlier and the industry targeted a billion dollars next year, officials said. But an electronic visa process, which is promised to be hassle free could encourage new markets.

A 2012 total of 830,000 tourists would require 71,000 tourists to visit Sri Lanka in December, a bit lower than the 84,627 visitors last year. Arrivals surged to 90,889 in November up 25 percent from a year earlier.

Officials said the killing of a British tourist in Tangalle in southern Sri Lanka had not resulted in cancellations and the police had been given a free hand bring perpetrators to justice.

“The government will not try to protect anyone,” Minister Abeywardene said. “There has been no meddling.”

All suspects in the incident, including a ruling party local council chief was in police custody, he said.

The Briton was killed and his colleague, a female Russian national who was also holidaying in Sri Lanka was badly injured apparently when they were caught up in a brawl among rival group during party on Christmas eve.

Deputy economic development minister Lakshman Abeyward