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DateLine Thursday, 2 October 2008

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China Bay Airport to open shortly

Sri Lanka Tourism has spent Rs. 3 million to refurbish the China Bay airport in Trincomalee. Sri Lanka Tourism has repainted the interior.

The airport is to be reopened next month after a major refurbishment for the domestic sector. The airport would be initially operated by the Air Force. With the liberation of the East, a domestic airport was a necessity and this would increase investments and develop tourism in the area.

Director General Sri Lanka Tourism, D. Kalaiselvam said there are several leading star hotels in the area and with air connectivity they would have increased arrivals.

Serendib Air also had a stop over in Trincomalee in their Jaffna flight and the airline is expected to resume flights. In addition, Mihin Air also has plans to operate domestic flights.

Kalaiselvam said they are expecting around 450,000 arrivals by the end of this year. "So far there have being over 300,000 arrivals and we expect more arrivals in the winter," he said.

Indian arrivals accounted to over 20 per cent while UK arrivals were at the second place.

The Ministry in a bid to woo more Indian tourists will be conducting a road show in Gujarat on October 5. He said last year the revenue generated from tourism was around US$400 million and this year too this target would be met.

In the out bound market there were 300,000 and the main markets were Thailand, Singapore and India.

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