Sri Lanka new tourism strategy to increase earnings, jobs

Mohan Pandithage, Chairman / Chief Executive & Dhammika Perera, Co-Chairman Hayleys PLC

Sep 06, 2011 (LBO) – Sri Lanka aims to make tourism a key component of post-war economic growth with a new strategy aimed at luring more high-spenders and increasing earnings and employment, an official said. Nalaka Godahewa, chairman of Sri Lanka Tourism, said the government was also working to make it easier for the private sector to expand their tourism businesses by cutting red tape and costs.

Tourist arrivals were growing at 40 percent this year and had already exceeded 500,000.

“Last year to get that number we had to wait till the ninth month,” Godahewa said at the launch of the new tourism strategy. ”The outlook is extremely good.”

Arrivals had grown by 46 percent in 2010 after the island’s 30-year ethnic war ended in May 2009.

The strategy aims to put in place systems, processes and infrastructure to achieve the target of attracting 2.5 million tourists by 2016 and generate 2.75 billion US dollars in earnings compared with 500 million dollars in 2010 when 650,000 people visited the island.

It also aims to lure more high-spenders and to increase average spending per tourist per day up to 200 US dollars.

“We also want to bring in foreign investment for tourism,” Godahewa