COLOMBO, July 21 (Xinhua) -- Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said his government is looking at easing the air traffic system including visas for tourists to boost the island's tourism industry, local media reported Saturday.
Speaking at the Hotel Show Colombo 2018 in the capital of Colombo, Wickremesinghe said that easing visa requirements for tourists was an important step for the island's rapidly developing tourism as the basic requirements of entry into the country must be streamlined.
Wickremesinghe stressed the importance of increasing the number of tourists visiting the country, thereby bringing in more revenue and improving the people's income.
"For us, in the short term, tourism is one of the job creators," the prime minister said. "It means a future for Sri Lankan employment. It means a future for Sri Lankan youth," he added.
Sri Lanka's tourism industry, which was once heavily scarred by a 30-year civil conflict, has become one of the leading industries after the island was dubbed as one of the world's greatest tourist hot spots by international publications.
Tourist arrivals have recorded a growth of 15.3 percent during the first half of 2018 compared to the same period last year, statistics from the Tourism Ministry showed.
India, China and Britain have remained the largest growing markets.
Sri Lankan Tourism Minister John Amaratunga said recently that the government was targeting a revenue of 4.4 billion U.S. dollars through tourism this year.