COLOMBO: Sri Lanka will be targeting record US$ 2.5 billion revenue from the tourism sector in 2015.
Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority Chairman, Paddy Withana speaking at the 49th edition of the ITB’s well attended and professionally handled press conference said that this figure was at US $ 1.7 billion last year.
“Put together with the informal sector earrings from the industry we expect that the total earnings from the industry to pass the US$ 6 billion mark next year. We are also hoping to target a record two million tourist arrivals for 2015,” he said.
He said that when he was heading the Tourist Board 10 years ago plans were drawn up to convert the Dedduwa water bodied lands near the Bentota area to an upmarket tourism project. “However this project was stalled and now we are opening it up again. We have paid over 60% compensation and are awaiting Rs. 104 million to complete land acquisition for the proposed 850 acres of land. In addition we will also have a Yala Wild Resort where 1,073 acres of land would be released for tourism development. This mega project costing around Rs. 3,790 million will see the introduction of over 245 new rooms.
In addition, the Kuchchaveli Beach resort too will be developed where 510 acres would be made available and we expect around 3,000 rooms to come up under this project. The total investments that will be generated will be around Rs. 790 million.
Passikudah too will be developed similarly with the help of investors and 1,000 rooms are expected to be built. The present investment done so far is Rs 10,161 million. He said that leases ranging from 30 to 99 years will be offered to investors in all these four new projects.
The Chairman said that they would not stall the ongoing Kalpitiya tourism development project but will relook at some of the project areas. Up to Rs 2,500 million investments have been made for the Kalpitiya projects and over 250 rooms are to be added.