Sri Lanka tourist arrivals to hit target ahead of schedule

Nov 24, 2011 (LBO) – Tourist arrivals to Sri Lanka have been growing faster than expected and the island expects to achieve its original target of attracting 750,000 tourists for the 2011 year later on Thursday. In the nine months to September 2011, total arrivals rose 34.3 percent to 598,006, official data showed.

Tourist arrivals to Sri Lanka rose 27.2 percent to 60,219 in September from a year earlier, helped by surging arrivals from India and China.

Nalaka Godahewa, chairman of Sri Lanka Tourism, the promotion agency, said the annual target has now been raised to 800,000 visitors by the year-end, up 22 percent from 2010.

The island is experiencing a tourism boom with arrivals growing rapidly after the end of the island’s 30-year ethnic war in 2009.