Sri Lanka tourist arrivals up year-on-year 27 percent in September

Sri Lanka Tourism (SLTDA) has recorded a 27.2 percent increase in tourist arrivals in September this year in comparison to the corresponding period last year.

Since the end of the war against the Tamil Tiger terrorists in May 2009, the country has seen increasing tourist arrivals every year for the past two years.

SLTDA statistics have recorded 60,219 tourist arrivals in September this year while the number of arrivals last July stood at 47,339.

Overall, the arrivals in the first nine months of 2011 rose 34.3 percent to 598,006, compared to the 445,228 arrived in same period last year.

The government predicts arrivals to grow by 20 percent and hit a new record of over 780,000 this year.

According to the Central Bank, income from tourism in the first eight months of this year rose 49 percent from a year ago to US$ 521.7 million.

Sri Lanka last month launched a new five-year plan under the guidance of the Economic Development Minister to boost tourism in the country. Under the plan Sri Lanka expects to raise the number of arrivals to 2.5 million and to earn annual revenue of US$ 2.75 billion by 2016.

The Economic Development Ministry with the private sector has launched a programme to double the hotel room capacity to 45,000 by 2016 over the current 22,745 to accommodate the 2.5 million arrivals by that time.

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