US boost for Sri Lanka’s tsunami-hit tourism industry

Sri Lanka will spend 7.3 million dollars to woo high-spending holiday makers from Europe and neighbouring India to fill hotel rooms left empty after the December tsunamis, officials said Wednesday. Sri Lanka will spend 7.3 million dollars to woo high-spending holiday makers from Europe and neighbouring India to fill hotel rooms left empty after the December tsunamis, officials said Wednesday. The Ceylon Tourist Board said three million dollars from the US Agency for International Development (USAID) would boost its own budget of 4.3 million dollars to promote the Indian Ocean island as an upmarket holiday destination.

“Our main objective is to fill the hotel rooms that are empty after the tsunami,” the board’s chairman Udaya Nanayakkara told reporters here. “We are hopeful we will be able to get more tourists from Europe and India.”

The number of holiday makers arriving in the island dropped by more than a third in the first quarter of this year while 4,000 out of the 14,000 hotel rooms were affected by the December 26 tsunami disaster.

Nanayakkara said despite the initial drop in the number of foreign holiday makers arriving in the island, he was still hopeful the total number of v