The Ministry of Economic Development in Sri Lanka launched a 5-year plan last month for improving tourism in the country, setting an ambitious target of attracting 2.5 million tourists by 2016.
The key objectives of the strategy are to increase tour- ist arrivals from 650,000 in 2010 to 2.5 million annually and attract USD 3,000 million in foreign direct investment by the year 2016.
Other objectives of the plan include providing 500,000 tourism related jobs to the country and increase foreign exchange earnings to USD 2.75 billion.
According to the plan set forth, these goals will be achieved by creating an environment conducive for tourism, attracting the right type of tourist to the country and ensuring that departing tourists leave happy.
Additionally, there will be a focus on improving domestic tourism which according to Dr. Nalaka Godahewa, Chairman, Sri Lanka Tourism was one of the key factors that sustained the countries tourist industry throughout the more difficult periods, while the final component of the strategy is concerned with improving Sri Lanka’s image on the international stage.
Sri Lanka wants to push its beaches, tea-growing mountains, heritage sites and wildlife parks to woo highspending foreign holiday-makers.