President Ranil Wickremesinghe said that the tourism industry is the leading sector that can quickly achieve the goals of building the country’s economy and the government has given priority to its promotion by taking many important decisions.

“While it takes time to get income from industry and agriculture, quicker earning can be obtained from tourism.”

President Wickremasinghe mentioned this yesterday at the opening of Hilton Yala Resort, the most luxurious hotel of the Hilton Hotel Group.

“During my trip to the Maldives in 1981, the country’s income from tourists was minimal but today arrivals have increased. While a tourist is charged around USD 200 per day in Sri Lanka Maldives charges about 700 dollars. Hence to develop the local tourism industry arrivals as well as the price should be increased.”

A large number of domestic and foreign tourists visit the Yala National Park on a daily basis and the President pointed out the need to develop the region in a comprehensive manner targeting them and to provide them with more facilities.

Wickremesinghe further said that the opening of Hilton hotel in Yala area as a high class luxury hotel gives the opportunity to attract tourists with high energy and create a new development in the tourism business and I am thankful to Melwa and Hilton Group for that. Our aim is to promote the tourism industry and take it forward. It is essential for everyone to contribute to that.”

Tourism should also be a source of employment and young people should be trained more. Many new proposals have been presented for the rapid development of tourism in this country. We also hope to deploy resources to generate short-term income and employment opportunities.”

Harin Fernando, Minister of Tourism and Lands said that as a result of the President’s visit to India, the largest number of tourists is coming to our country from India.

“Our airlines operate flights to India about 80 times a week to meet this demand. New airlines have started flying to Sri Lanka while others currently flying to Sri Lanka have added capacity.”

He also said that the Hilton Hotel Group will be opening new luxury hotels in Nuwara Eliya and Negombo soon and the tourism industry of this country will get a wide contribution from these activities.

In addition a large number of foreigners have started investing in Sri Lanka today because of their willingness and desire to stay in the country.

“Statistics show that 31% of tourists coming to Sri Lanka are repeat tourists. Sri Lanka does not have to be a country with a specific destination for tourists.”