Sri Lanka tourism re-launch mooted

Feb 12, 2009 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s tourist hotel industry body has suggested a fresh campaign to promote the island as a destination for visitors now that the ethnic war that deterred tourists is ending. “Sri Lanka tourism is beginning to be cautiously optimistic, with the inevitable end to the long and protracted war situation,” a statement from the Tourist Hotels Association of Sri Lanka (THASL) said.

It quoted its president Srilal Miththapala as saying that three months ago it was all ‘doom and gloom’ for the industry.

“But now, it appears that there could be some light emerging out of the long dark tunnel,” the statement said.

“We see a possible upswing of arrivals to Sri Lanka once the war is over, and peace returns to the country,” Miththapala said.

Sri Lanka’s government has said its forces are on the verge of finishing off the Tamil Tiger rebels who have been cornered in the island’s north-eastern corner with overseas supply links cut.

The war had deterred visitors and kept hotel rooms empty for years.

“It is now time for the entire industry to come out with a national promotional campaign, to re-launch Sri Lanka to the world,” Miththapala said.

“True, we ar