Jan 18, Colombo: Within the first 16 days of the new year 60,989 tourists have arrived in Sri Lanka and the government expects the tourist arrivals to reach 100,000 by the end of this month, Deputy Minister of Economic Development Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena said.
The Minister further said 21,000 out of the total visitors have arrived with the online visa certificate obtained through the Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) process that went into effect at the beginning of this year.
The country had earned US$ 393,865 within the 16-day period from the online visa process, the Minister revealed.
The country expects to reach a target of one million tourist arrivals this year and revenues of US$ 1 billion.
A total of 855,975 tourists arrived in Sri Lanka in 2011 with revenues estimated at US$ 800 million for the year.
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.
Sri Lanka launched an ambitious 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.