Sri Lanka is expecting an increase in tourist arrivals from the Middle East over the next few years and is making arrangements to have the facilities in place to cater to that market, the Sri Lankan External Affairs Ministry said on Thursday.
Sri Lanka will focus more on fine-tuning the facilities to cater to the Middle Eastern travelers, such as villa type accommodation, Hallal food, training and developing Arabic speaking guides and hotel staff to familiarize with Middle Eastern customs.
The Sri Lanka Tourist Board expects to attract 90,000 visitors from the Middle East this year and in 2016 with the Sri Lankan government targeting 2.5 million tourist arrivals, the total expectation from the Middle East will rise up to 200,000 arrivals.
A road show was held in Kuwait by the Embassy of Sri Lanka in Kuwait and the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau recently to promote Sri Lanka as a tourist destination, the External Affairs Ministry said.
Major tour operators from Sri Lanka also participated at the event to focus on starting a link with tour operators in Kuwait and to encourage the agents to include Sri Lanka as their next promising travel destination.
Since the end of the three-decade-long war in 2009, Sri Lanka's tourism industry has boomed attracting over 1 million tourists in 2012.