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Wednesday, 13 January 2010

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Tourist arrivals see increase

With the dawn of peace there is a rapid increase in the number of tourist arrivals especially from western countries.

According to the latest statistics over 80,000 tourists have arrived in 2009 and it was a positive trend, Tourism Minister, Achala Jagoda told a press conference at his Ministry yesterday.

He said that due to terrorist activities, western travel advisories did not allow their citizens to travel to Sri Lanka and some of the countries banned tourists visiting the country. While the terrorist war was on, our neighbour India had sent around 83,000 tourists annually, he said.

During the past few months, tourist arrivals from Japan, USA and UK have showed a significant growth.

The New York Times had reported Sri Lanka as the best travel destination amongst the '31 Places to go in 2010' countries, he said. "We have already taken action to increase the number of rooms in hotels and had named 2011 as Year of Tourism.

"New hotels are planned to be built in Paasikudah, Kalkudah, Nilaveli and Kalpitiya costal areas," Minister said. The Tourism Ministry will launch a special double decker bus service between religious and cultural centers in Colombo such as Gangarama temple, Museum and Jummah mosque that are places of attraction for tourists, he said.

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