Sri Lanka taps Europe for more tourists

Colombo, Jan 19 (IANS) The Sri Lankan government is seeking to attract more European tourists and has appointed a senior official as a tourism consultant to focus especially on the European continent, officials said on Thursday.

Tourism Minister John Amaratunga on Thursday said the country hopes to attract more Europeans who are traditionally identified as good spenders with demand for high standards as several international hotels have now opened in Colombo, Xinhua news agency reports.

“Today with so many hotels coming up, we need to redouble our efforts to attract more Europeans to our country,” Amaratunga said.

Sri Lanka’s tourism industry has witnessed a positive growth in recent years with India and China being the leading sources of tourists. Europeans once formed the bedrock of Sri Lanka’s tourism industry.

Sri Lanka received over 2 million tourists in 2016 and the government hopes to achieve a target of 4 million tourists per year by 2020.

Amaratunga said earlier this month that Sri Lanka hopes to attract 2.5 million tourists this year.