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* Rapid expansion of tourism industry in Sri Lanka attributed to infrastructure development
Mon, Dec 17, 2012, 12:55 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Dec 17, Colombo: Rapid expansion of the tourism industry which has attracted an increasing number of foreign tourists to the island has been attributed to the infrastructure development in the country, especially the rebuilding of the conflict-affected North and East.

Sri Lanka's Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa said that the country's rapid development is due to the direct participation of the government in expediting public welfare measures.

He told a high-level UN team visiting the island that within two years the government has demined and prepared the war-torn North and East according to international standards to resettle around 300,000 displaced people in their villages.

The high level delegation of permanent representatives to the UN is visiting Sri Lanka to observe the progress on the implementation of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) recommendations and other post-war developments.

The Sri Lankan government, with the assistance from donor countries like India, Australia, China and Japan, and also from international NGOs and other organizations, has developed the infrastructure of these areas to provide the resettled people with education, drinking water, electrical power, agricultural needs, health facilities and livelihood, the Minister told the delegation.

The government with the international assistance has built railway linking North and South and an efficient road network including expressways, the Minister said adding that the improved transportation structure helped to raise the production levels and create new economic opportunities for the people.

Restoration of reservoirs, tanks and bunds has boosted agricultural development, he noted.

He appreciated the assistance given by the countries such as India, China and Japan to the development projects in the country.

According to Minister Rajapaksa, the improved infrastructure has also helped the rapid expansion of the tourism industry which has attracted an increasing number of foreign tourists to the North and East, coastal areas and the interior of the country.

The delegation led by Japanese Ambassador in Sri Lanka included permanent representatives from Nigeria, Romania Bangladesh and Sri Lanka to the United Nations in New York, top diplomats of Italian, Brazilian and South African missions in Sri Lanka.

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