Colombo, Dec 8 (NIA) – Sri Lanka has been chosen by 200 Chinese couples to hold a mass wedding event, Tourism Minister, John Amaratunga said here on Thursday.
Addressing parliament, Amaratunga said that Sri Lanka had become a popular tourist destination and had also been classified as an ideal wedding destination.
“Already reservations have been made for 200 Chinese couples to conduct a mass wedding in Colombo,” Amaratunga said.
“We will see more happening in the future,” he added.
With the growing number of travelers arriving in the country, Amaratunga said he was expecting tourist arrivals to exceed 2.2 million tourists by this year end and 4.5 million tourists by 2020.
In terms of revenue, last year the tourism sector earned 3 billion US dollars while this year tourism earnings are expected to be 3.5 billion dollars, Amaratunga said.
“We hope to make tourism the number one foreign exchange earner in the country. Sri Lanka has become a travel hot spot among the global travel community and as a result of this popularity we will be seeing more tourists in the coming months and years,” he said.
The Minister further said that leading hotel chains were continuing to invest in Sri Lanka. Last week, he said, the world renowned Radisson Hotel agreed to construct two to three hotels in the island. This is in addition to the current investments by Movenpick, Shangri La, ITC Marriot, Antara and Riu.
“This shows the confidence the international community has in Sri Lanka’s tourism sector. We are also trying to attract high end travellers by investing in yachting, golfing, kite surfing, ballooning. Another area we will look into is medical tourism with special emphasis on ayurveda,” Amaratunga said.
Sri Lanka is also eyeing large cruise liners with thousands of passengers on board and would also develop domestic airports across the country, including in the former war torn north to accommodate chartered flights.