Arab holidaymakers flock to Sri Lanka

Arab travellers to Sri Lanka increased by 58% in the first ten months of the year according to Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau’s (SLTPB) Middle East office. Statistics compiled by Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority indicate that the growth from the Middle East is higher than the overall growth in arrivals to Sri Lanka which is pegged at 43.5%.

“Sri Lanka is witnessing a dramatic rise in visitors which in turn has enabled vast development of Sri Lanka’s existing tourism infrastructure with new hotels and better road networks currently underway island-wide to cope with the destinations increasing popularity,” remarked Ms Heba Al Mansoori, Middle East Director of SLTPB.

Ms Al Mansoori noted that several hotel giants are undertaking expansion, refurbishment and major re-development plans in order to meet increased demand for hotel rooms. “All this will help accommodate the exponential increase in tourist arrivals.”

Several development projects in the East are currently underway which was previously inaccessible. Three areas which are of focus are Pasikudah, Kucheveli and Kalpitiya. Many hotel projects are in progress and by the year 2011/2012 we hope to have added 1,000 rooms.

In addition other development is also in progress in the rest of the island. We just opened the new Port in the South of the country and a new Airport will be soon opened as well in the South.

SLTPB opened its office in Dubai in May 2008 to maximize the opportunities emerging throughout the Middle East while strengthening support for the travel trade in the region.

Since the opening, the Dubai office has co-ordinated all of Sri Lanka’s tourism promotional activities in the Arab markets including exhibition participation, marketing visits, presentations and road shows, brochure distribution, public relations, as well as familiarization visits to the island for influential business and travel journalists. The office also functions as the preliminary contact point and enquiry processing centre for travel trade companies and tourists in the region.

Sri Lanka is now on the threshold of developing to its full potential as a prime tourism destination with diverse offerings for members of the whole family whether it is beaches, shopping, visits to wildlife reserves, heritage and culture sites, relaxing at a spa, or simply enjoying the cuisine.

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