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Sri Lanka targets 2.5 million tourists in 2017

Staff Writer | January 3, 2017
Sri Lanka has set a target of 2.5 million tourists in 2017 as the island nation was becoming a popular tourist destination.
Sri Lanka tourists
Tourism in Asia   China will continue to be a very strong market
Tourism Minister John Amaratunga told Xinhua that the country had already exceeded the 2 million tourist arrival mark in 2016 and now it hoped to attract a further 2.5 million tourists by the end of 2017.

Up to November, the government had achieved a little more than 1.8 million tourists with the leading markets being India and China.

China will continue to be a very strong market even in 2017 as more Chinese tourists were expected to arrive in the island country, the minister said.

He further said that the closure of the Bandaranaike International Airport for certain hours from January to April would have an effect on the number of tourist arrivals this year.

The country's main international airport will be closed from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. every day from Jan. 6 to April. 6 due to maintenance work on the runway. Several flights have had to re-schedule their arrivals and departures to Colombo as a result of the maintenance.

Passengers travelling during this period have also been advised to arrive at the airport five hours prior to their flight departure.