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Last updated: 19 September, 2009 - Published 19:08 GMT
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Tourism gather momentum - Tourist Board
Kandyan dancers
Air- fares have to come down to increase the number of tourists visiting Sri Lanka from the UK, says Sanjika Perera, Director - UK & Ireland, Sri Lanka Tourism.

He added that there are constrains in reducing air- fares compared to neighbouring India.

"India has the advantage of a heavy traffic flow and flights to India could be competitively low", he said.

In this background, the Sri Lankan airline has been helpful in offering promotional offers to boost tourism, said Sanjika Perera

The number of tourist arrivals into Sri Lanka from Britain has increased by seventeen per cent compared to August last year, he said.

Set back

“There has been a set back at the beginning of the year but the trade is now gathering momentum”, Sanjika Perera said.

Sanjaka Perea said that a tourist promotion programme has been introduced in the UK under which journalists from the UK were invited to visit Sri Lanka.

Traditional dancers

He said the biggest influx of tourists to Sri Lanka is from the United Kingdom and during the past five years 80000 to 90000 tourists had arrived in Sri Lanka each year.

Boom in east

He said over five hundred thousand tourists are expected to visit Sri Lanka this year and the year 2011 has been earmarked as Tourism Year.

The Sri Lanka Tourist Board expects the industry in the east booming in the near future.

However, he said, facilities have to be improved with new hotels.

“There are only three hotels which go beyond three star rating. Therefore new hotels have to come up in the east”, Sanjika Perera added.

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