Sri Lanka lures Indian tourists by sea

Dec 08, 2009 (LBO) – Sri Lanka has struck a deal with the world’s fifth largest cruise line to attract Indian tourists to the island by cruise ship, officials said. The Tourism Promotion Bureau said the cruise calls are expected to increase the number of Indian tourists visiting the island by 4,000 a month.

Its chairman Bernard Goonetilleke said Sri Lanka can now attract Indian visitors to the island not only by air but by sea as well.

“There are many connections by air between India and Sri Lanka but hardly any by sea (for passengers). This is the first such service. I believe it is going to be an interesting period for us.”

Tourism Minister Achala Jagoda said that with the end of the island’s ethnic war the authorities were trying to lure more tourists from the Asian region.

Tourist arrivals into Sri Lanka has seen a sharp increase since May when government forces defeated the Tamil Tigers, ending their 30-year separatist war.

In recent years India has also emerged as one of the main tourist generating markets for Sri Lanka.

Pricing on cruises aboard the Aquamarine is “aggressive” Khosa said with rates starting from an all-inclusi