Sri Lanka sees US$500mn coming in to leisure

May 12, 2010 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s state investment promotion agency is processing almost 500 million dollars of new deals mainly into leisure and is planning two investments zones in the former war-torn north of the island, officials said. Kulasekara said the end of the war had opened up two-thirds of the country’s beach areas for tourism and about one-third of land for agriculture for anyone to invest in and develop.

Kulasekera said the agency was planning to open two investment zones in Mankulam and Kilinochchi in the northern province. Kilinochchi was once a key stronghold of Tamil Tiger separatists.

Farming, fishing and construction activity is picking in the former war-torn north and east areas and Sri Lanka’s diaspora was starting to invest, especially in small hotels and guest houses in Jaffna at the northern tip of the island.

Banks have opened dozens of branches in Jaffna. “We are targeting about a billion US dollars in foreign direct investments this year,” newly appointed BOI chief Jayampathi Bandaranayake told reporters.

“We hope to work closely with other ministries and their plans and present one face to investors.”

Sri Lanka’s 30-year separatist war ended in May 2009, brightening prospects for grow