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Sri Lanka fast tracks hotel construction to meet tourism boom

01-12-2012 10:45 BJT

COLOMBO, Jan.11 -- Sri Lanka is fast tracking tourism investment to increase room capacity in a bid to meet the 1 million arrival target set for 2012, an official said here Wednesday.

Acting Economic Development Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardana told media that at least 2500 new rooms need to be added this year to facilitate the 1 million tourists expected in the Indian Ocean island. "Tourism grew by 30.8 percent in 2011 and even though we targeted 750,000, the year ended with over 850,000 arrivals. For 2012, we have targeted 950,000 and if the current trend continues then we will have over a million tourists for the first time in history," he said.

However, the industry does not have sufficient rooms at the moment and will need to fast track construction projects in the pipeline. Abeywardana said that 210 investment proposals had been submitted to the government, among which 92 had been approved. "We need to encourage investors to get their projects off the ground and completed quickly,"he said, adding that the government hopes to attract 2.5 million tourists by 2016.

Shangri-la, Hyatt, Sheraton and South Africa's Sun City have large scale projects planned in Sri Lanka.

Editor:Sun Luying |Source: Xinhua

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