*The Hotel Show 2010 kicks off
Basil says its boom time for tourism


By Mario Andree

Tourism has been identified as a leading player for achieving economic prosperity and Sri Lanka promotes tourism while strengthening the hospitality industry to cater to the raising demand, said Minister of Economic Development, Basil Rajapakse, at the inaugural ceremony of ‘The Hotel Show 2010’.

The industry was badly impacted due to the past conflict but managed to survive contributing a substantial amount to the economy. Now, as the war is over it is the most prospering industry.

"This is boom time for tourism with hoteliers refurbishing their hotels and venturing to new projects island wide," he said.

The tourism authority has been granted the power to approve projects within a time frame of three hours. If cases are delayed complains are welcome to the high levels, he said.

The government will be providing the basic infrastructure and monitoring facilities to the industry. The private sector should drive the way forward with new projects introduced to the system.

Sri Lanka hopes to achieve 600,000 tourists this year, while next year is nominated as the ‘Visit Sri Lanka’ year, we hope to attract 800,000 tourists creating the avenue to the goal of 2.5 million by 2016, said Chairman Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority Dr. Nalaka Godahewa.

The country is working towards tourism development, we want to see more tourist arrivals and departures with pleasant experience gained from our valuable culture, he said.

For the first six months the SLTDA hopes to create a background for attraction, by creating more hotel rooms and establishments and creating nearly 400,000 employment opportunities both direct and indirect.

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