06 July, Kolkata
India continued to be the No 1 country for Sri Lanka for growth of its economy in tourism sector, probably the 3rd largest economic activity after tea and rubber for Island nation
Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau assistant director Viranga Bandara told a media conference that they have targeted some 4,5 lakh Indian vacationers to visit Sri Lanka this year with at least 10,000 of them coming from West Bengal and other Eastern states.
The footfall of Indian tourists visiting the Island nation last year was around 3.5 lakh, the largest number visitors of the 2.2 million travelers around the world, China take the second position. National career Srilankan Airlines, which operates direct flight Kolkata-Colombo-Kolkata thrice a week, also planned to expand its flight schedules with increasing demand for the vacationers from eastern India. More than 100 flights run a week in India, Opening a road show for the first time in this city to promote tourism as leisure activity in the island nation, Mr Bandara said India became the top tourism market of Sri Lanka.
Asked about their plan on how to attract more Indian tourists, Bandara said, after Kolkata they planned to hold similar Road Shows in various other cities including Vizac, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Pune and Ahmedabad later this month to help generate more interest about the small island nation among the general public.
To another query he said whiIe India continued to be their numero uno market in terms of tourist arrival, it was followed by China from where about 300,000 people visited Sri Lanka last year.
“We are also planning to double the number of our 100 odd daily flights from different Indian cities to Colombo if we are able to maintain similar 26 per cent year on year growth in business too,” Bandara said