With the end of a three-decades long war in May 2009 Sri Lanka is now seeing its tourism industry flourishing once again. Tourist arrivals have steadily increased since the end of the war and recent data from the Tourist Board showns that Sri Lanka’s tourist arrivals jumped by 50.3 percent in the first quarter of 2010 compared to 2009.
In March tourist arrivals reached 52,352, up by 53.7 percent from a 34,065 a year earlier.
The hotels in the country are in a race with time to provide more accommodation and facilities to the anticipated influx of tourists to the country. Leading hotels in the country are adding more rooms while refurbishing the old ones and struggling to find accommodation for the tourists who are mostly from Britain, Germany, France, India, Japan, and Mid-East.
Many hotels are investing in new furniture, bars, restaurants, swimming pools and extensions to cater to the tourists, hotel owners say.
The hotel and travel index on the Colombo Stock Exchange has almost tripled since the war’s end and the total number of hotel rooms is expected to grow from about 15,000 to 22,000.
The Tourism Board says it is hoping to attract 2.5 million visitors by 2016 and to earn 2 billion-dollar annual income from tourism by 2016.