War over, tourists seen flocking Sri Lanka again

 Tourist arrivals in Sri Lanka has seen a spurt in the last six months, registering a 30 per cent jump over the corresponding period of last year.

According to Sri Lankan hotel industry, hotel occupancies in Colombo, which till May this year was around 50 per cent, has in last six months, seen average occupancy going up to 75 pc. And, cashing in on increased arrivals, hotels have increased their tariffs by 80 to 120 per cent from November. Taj Samudra, in Colombo, which earlier used to charge $60 per night, has hiked it to $120.

Justifying the increase in tariffs, hoteliers said, with things back to normal after war, and occupancy on the upswing, it was only natural for us to hike the rates.

During warring times, we had to offer the same services at lower prices as tourists were hesitant to visit the country, said Taj Samudra Area Director (Sri Lanka) & General Manager Vimal Seth.

Attractive destination

Likewise, says Taj Exotica General Manager V K Prasad, even in Bentota, a tourist attraction about 60 km from Colombo on the southern coast, there has been a rush of visitors lately and business has gone up by 30 to 40 pc in the last few months.  Stating that the country had great tourism potential, Taj Hotels Director (Sales) Anand Padmanabhan observed that now that the door has opened gradually the industry would grow.

Further, according to Seth, the Taj Group, is gearing itself with plans to set up hotels and resorts in the virgin territory of Northern Sri Lanka now that the war is over and several industrialists have already begun puchase of lands to develop infrastructure facilities.

 Meanwhile, it is understood that, several companies, from India, have shown interest in investing in Sri Lanka. Those in construction sector such as L&T, officials say have visited the country in the last few months to explore investment opportunities.

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