Sri Lanka needs massive increase in hotel rooms

Sept 11, 2009 (LBO) – Sri Lanka needs a massive increase in hotel accommodation to cope with the anticipated influx of tourists with the end of the 30-year ethnic war, a senior travel trade official said. “The eradication of terrorism and the country returning to normal have created a window of opportunity and conducive business environment for tourism,” said Chandra Wickramasinghe, President of the Sri Lanka Association of Inbound Tour Operators (SLAITO).

“The main infrastructure requirement in Sri Lanka in the present situation is to have a minimum of 25,000 rooms of three- to five-star category.”

Sri Lanka now has a total of 14,793 rooms with about 3,000 in the five-star category and about 1,400 in the three- and four-star categories, according to tourism authority statistics.

There was an immediate increase in tourist arrivals when the ethnic war ended in May with government forces defeating the Tamil Tiger rebels.

Tourist arrivals in August 2009 rose 34.3 percent to 41,207 from a year ago, led by visitors from key markets like the UK, Germany, India, the Tourism Authority said.

It was the third straight monthly rise in visitors since May, although the numbers were slightly