Even before the dust settles on 2003, the tourism industry is gearing up to break last years arrivals record this year.
Sri Lanka Tourist Board officials say they expect the numbers to continue their upward trend. rn
rnHowever, the industry says a change in the course of the peace process and continuing political instability could derail plans.rn
rnldblquote We were expecting about 550,000 tourists, but the uncertain politics has made an impact on it,
dblquote said Paddy Withana, Chairman, Sri Lanka Tourist Board.rn
rnThe industry is targeting a million arrivals by the end of the decade and is trying to get the high spenders in.rn
rnTourist Board says this years success was largely due to continuing peace.rn
rnBut the Tourist Board fell short by 50,000. rn
rnHowever, last minute cancellations during the winter season by free individual travelers may have affected target revenues.rn
rnThe cancellations were mainly due to the political uncertainties but the figures are yet to be finalized.