Sri Lanka's Minister of Industry and Commerce Rishad Bathiudeen is urging businessmen in the Gulf countries to increase investments in his country, particularly in tourism."The Gulf countries and Sri Lanka have cordial relations," he said in a statement to Kuwait News Agency (KUNA) in Brussels. Bathiudden is leading a business delegation, currently on an European tour including Belgium, France and the Netherlands to expand commercial and economic cooperation with Europe.He said Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa was the president of a Palestinian-Sri Lankan friendly organisation, 30 years ago, and supporter of the Palestine question."After he became the President of Sri Lanka he began to develop closer ties with the Gulf countries. The Muslim world is helping Sri Lanka after Rajapaksa has become the President," said the minister.There are some activities by Gulf countries in Sri Lanka in building the infrastructure. Development funds of Kuwait and Saudi Arabia are involved in health sector projects in the country.But he said that exports from Sri Lanka to the Gulf countries were very low and expressed hope that they would be increased.He called on the investors in the Gulf to invest in the tourism sector in Sri Lanka."We are expecting more tourists from the Gulf countries," he told KUNA noting that hotels, serving "halal food," are available in Sri Lanka.Meanwhile, addressing a meeting with Belgian businessmen on Thursday in Brussels, Bathiudeen said the tourism sector started booming in Sri Lanka with the end of the conflict in June 2009. Up to end of September 2011, tourists' numbers increased by 35%, recording the highest number closer to 700,000, he noted. To show case Sri Lanka's capabilities, Bethiudeen said his ministry has organized an international trade fair "EXPO 2012," scheduled to be held in March in Colombo.