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Thursday, 2 February 2012

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'Unprecedented growth in tourism'

The tourism industry in Sri Lanka has reached a stage of unprecedented growth during the last two consecutive years following the end of internal conflicts in Sri Lanka.

Dr. Nalaka Godahewa addressing the event

"We have observed a 46% growth in 2010 and 31 % growth in 2011," said Chairman Sri Lanka Tourism, Dr. Nalaka Godahewa delivering the 'Zheng He' oration in Colombo last Tuesday.

"2012 also got off to a fantastic start with tourist arrivals exceeding 100,000 monthly in January itself," he said.

He said that China is fast becoming the world leader in tourism where in 2011, the Chinese out bound tourism exceeded 65 million which was about a 14% growth compared to the previous year. "Already China has become the main market for many popular tourism destinations in the world and world tourism organization and UNWTO has recommended the emerging tourism destinations across the globe to look at China as a key focus area."

The religious, cultural and historical relations between Sri Lanka and China date back to centuries. This relationship which was established during the period of ancient Silk Road period has strengthened by several folds at present. In 2007, the relationship between the two countries reached 50 years.

At present China is Sri Lanka's leading trading partner. Similarly, Chinese assistance is being provided to many major development projects in Sri Lanka.

The Bandaranaike Memorial International Conference Hall was given to Sri Lanka as token of friendship, The Hambantota Harbour, Norochcholei Coal Power Plant, Colombo-Katunayake Expressway and the Performance Arts Theatre in Colombo are some of the projects China has established in Sri Lanka. (SS)

 

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