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Wednesday, 13 November, 2002, 12:21 GMT
Tourism in Sri Lanka rebounds
Sri Lankan beach
Holidays in Sri Lanka are still cheap
Tourism in Sri Lanka has surged as peace talks between the government and Tamil Tiger separatists continue to deliver economic dividends.

Arrivals for the first 10 months of the year were up 5.9% on the same period in 2001, figures from the Sri Lankan Tourist Board showed.

In October alone arrivals jumped 181% on the same month a year ago and if growth continues at this rate then this year's arrivals might match the 400,000 seen in 2000.

A Tamil Tiger attack on the country's main international airport in July last year and the global slump in travel after the 11 September attacks left the South Asian island's economy reeling.

The recovery began in July this year - when government and Tamil Tiger officials met for the first time since signing a cease fire in February - with visitor numbers showing a 25% increase on the previous year.

Cheap pickings

Sri Lanka's tourism industry was devastated by the attack on Bandaranaike Airport 30km (18 miles) north of the capital, Colombo in July 2001.

Three airbuses belonging to national carrier, Sri Lankan Airlines, were completely destroyed and three others badly damaged at an estimated cost of $350m (224m).

Since the cease fire, foreign leisure and holiday groups have started investing in the country, snapping up cheap real estate and other undervalued properties.

Tamil Tiger rebels fought for nearly two decades for a separate state in Tamil majority areas in the north and east of the island.


Peace efforts

Background

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See also:

26 Sep 02 | Business
13 Sep 02 | Business
11 Sep 02 | Business
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