Colombo, June 28 (newsin.asia) – Sri Lanka’s Tourism Minister, John Amaratunga on Wednesday said the country had not been able to achieve the expected tourist arrivals during the month of June mainly due to the floods, dengue outbreak and the garbage crisis.
While the dengue epidemic itself had no adverse impact on tourist arrivals, he said word had spread about last month’s floods and cyclone and the garbage crisis which had affected the tourism numbers.
“The dengue epidemic itself did not adversely affect the tourism arrivals this month.The word went around that we were facing floods. But that has now subsided. Even dengue is now on the decline, so we are confident tourist arrivals will pick up and we will be able to achieve our targets,” Amaratunga said.
“This month we have not been able to meet our expectations as there were a number of problems. This was mainly due to the floods, disease and a garbage problem. There were so many obstacles. But the industry is confident we will be able to pick up in the next two three months,” he added.
Amaratunga further questioned the authorities delay in cleaning up Colombo city admitting that it had affected the capital’s well maintained beauty.
“Colombo must be cleared, it is very ugly to see bags and bags being piled up and kept in the city. Colombo should be cleared immediately, I do not know what the delay is because there are trucks and lands to dispose the garbage. I do not understand,” he said.
However he said the government was in the process of getting down the latest technology in order to dispose the garbage.
Sri Lanka had received the highest number of tourist arrivals last year with over 2 million tourists and this year the country is expecting an additional 2.5 million tourists.
With new international hotels chains also entering the island country, an estimated 45,000 rooms will be available in the country in the coming few years, Amaratunga said.
To cope with the demand to provide service personnel to work at these hotels, Amaratunga said the hotel school was training service personnel to cater to the growing demand.