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Sri Lanka celebrates record tourist numbers achieved during 2014

Sri Lanka experienced its best ever tourism year in 2014 with more than 1.5 million visitor arrivals. The Indian Ocean island saw a 19.8 per cent increase in arrivals in 2014 compared to 2013 and government officials are now estimating a tourist target of 2.5 million in 2016 as well as a significant increase in hotel developments.

Sri Lanka celebrates record tourist numbers achieved during 2014

Government officials have announced that Sri Lanka experienced its best ever year in 2014, with more than 1.5 tourist arrivals.

During 2014 Sri Lanka received 1,527,153 holidaymakers last year, a 19.8 per cent increase compared to figures in 2013, and the country has experienced record numbers for 68 months in a row.

With visitor numbers steadily increasing and the development of new luxury hotels and resort on the island, government officials are expecting tourist arrivals to reach 2.5 million in 2016.

Madubhani Perera, the Director of Marketing at Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA), explained:

"I believe we have the capacity to host such a number because we will now be focusing on new markets in order to attract tourists.

"With substantial hotel investments in Sri Lanka - for example, Shangri-La, Hyatt, Marriot and Movenpick - as well as the opening up of the East coast and Kalpitiya for resort-hotel projects, the 50,000 rooms needed to meet the arrivals targets can be met."

Tourism is a key factor in Sri Lanka and the industry earned the country $1.775 billion in the first ten months of 2014, an increase of 30.4 per cent compared to 2013.

Most of the international visitors (479,007) originated from Western Europe which is a 13.7 increase compared to 2013, and the island saw a 136.1 per cent increase in the number of Chinese tourists.

Sri Lanka is an island in the Indian Ocean renowned for its stunning natural scenery and diverse ecosystem that is made up of miles of sandy beaches, soaring mountains, thriving wildlife sanctuaries, verdant nature parks, and an array of heritage sites which that ancient cities and colonial forts.

Since the end of its 25-year-long conflict in 2009, the island has seen a much-needed boost in the number of tourists as travellers regain confidence in safe travel to the island. Over the last few years, the state-run Sri Lanka Tourism Authority has been working hard to promote the country as a safe tourist destination throughout many countries across the world.

The island is home to eight UNESCO World Heritage Sites including ancient cities such as Anuradhapura, which was founded in the 4th century BC lay hidden for years in a thick jungle. The city's palaces, temples and monuments are on display again and provide a fantastic insight into Sri Lanka's ancient heritage.

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