Nov 25, Colombo: With the arrival of the 750,000th tourist in the country on Thursday Sri Lanka has exceeded its tourism goal for the year 2011.
According to Sri Lanka Tourism Board this is the first time Sri Lanka has welcomed over 700,000 tourists in a year.
The arrivals for January through October this year surpassed the annual tourist arrivals of 654,476 recorded in 2010.
With the latest figure of tourist arrival to the country, Sri Lanka has seen an annual growth of 34.2% so far this year over the number of arrivals recorded in 2010.
The tourism industry revenue by the end of the year is also expected to surpass the target and reach over US $ one billion mark.
Since the end of the war against the Tamil Tiger terrorists in May 2009, the country has seen increasing tourist arrivals every year for the past two years.
The Industry this year has seen a huge contribution from Latin American, Caribbean western European countries including Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, The Netherlands, UK and Germany. These regions alone have attracted 250, 847 tourists sharing a major portion out of the 750,000 arrivals recorded so far.
Sri Lanka launched a new five-year plan under the guidance of the Economic Development Minister to boost tourism in the country.
Under the plan Sri Lanka expects to raise the number of arrivals to 2.5 million and to earn annual revenue of US$ 2.75 billion by 2016. A target of US$3 billion in foreign direct investment by 2016 has also been set. Sri Lanka is aiming for four million tourist arrivals by year 2020.