August 06, 2012 (LBO) – Sri Lanka is on a drive to attract 100,000 American tourists by 2016 in a bid to woo part of tourist traffic to the Maldives and India and attract more up market travelers to the island, a diplomat said. “We are working on an aggressive campaign to attract 100,000 American tourists to the Island by 2016,” Jaliya Wickramasuriya, Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to the US and Mexico said.
“I can see a huge interest in people wanting to visit the island,”
Sri Lanka has not been able to attract American visitors as much as Europeans mainly due to the geographical distance between the two countries and long hours of travel.
“Accessibility has been a problem because Sri Lanka is a long haul market for the US,” Vipula Wanigasekara, Acting Director General, Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority said.
“Lots of American tourists go to Vietnam because of links over the war. You have to have a very good reason to come on a long haul flight,” he said.
Sri Lanka tourism says with end of the conflict, Sri Lanka stands a chance to enter the North American and the Canadian outbound market but lack of direct flights, attractive multiple destination tour packages and budgets for promotions are hampering