Feb 20, Colombo: Sri Lanka plans to launch a global mega promotional campaign to boost tourism development in the island as the tourism sector aims to become the largest foreign exchange earner by attracting 2.5 million tourists in year 2016.
Since the end of the war in May 2009, the tourism industry is booming with tourist arrivals reaching over 1.2 million last year.
The number of foreign tourist arrival to the country has increased from 447,939 in 2009 to 1.274 million in 2013 and earnings rose from US $340 million in 2009 to US $1.5 billion in 2013 reflecting an annual average growth of 20-26% during the past five years.
Considering the importance of the tourism industry for the economic development of the country and the direct earnings of US $1.5 billion from foreign tourist arrivals and the recorded domestic activities by 5.2 million domestic tourists in 2013, the government plans to launch a two-year comprehensive promotional campaign to reach the 2.5 million arrival target by 2016.
A proposal made by the Minister of Economic Development, Basil Rajapaksa to implement a comprehensive mega promotional campaign pertaining to tourism, for a period of two years from 2014 and to proceed with the relevant activities received approval from the Cabinet.