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Middle East Visitors To Sri Lanka Up 41 Per Cent

ImageSri Lankan government officials say the number of visitors from the Middle East has surged 41 per cent, with August alone seeing a 104 per cent surge.  Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Tourism is aiming to increase the tourism sectors contribution to GDP to 10 per cent.  The tourism sector generated $400 million in revenue in 2008, only 2 to 3 per cent of the country’s GDP. 

A target of 2.5 million tourists to Sri Lanka has been set, consistent with a plan for 2016.   Authorities plan to increase the number of hotel rooms to 50,000 within the next seven years.  There are currently between 14,000 and 17,000 hotel rooms in the country.  Faiszer Musthapha, the Minister for Tourism Promotion in Sri Lanka, talked about ways to strengthen tourism ties with Dubai’s DTCM Director General, Khalid A bin Sulayem.  The most important markets for tourism in the Middle East for Sri Lanka are the UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar.
 

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