COLOMBO, Jan. 14 (Xinhua) -- Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa said on Tuesday that his government will soon launch a target based strategy to promote the island country's tourism industry as the sector has the potential to play a leading role in the economic growth of the country, a statement from the President's office said here Tuesday.
As a result, the President said the government hopes to generate a 10 billion U.S. dollar income per year from the tourism sector by 2025.
"We require a skilled team with expertise and dedication. Every step should generate immediate results. On my part I do not hesitate to take decisions for the benefit of the country. I expect the officials would commit themselves to passing benefits of such decisions onto the public. If there is a target-based plan (for tourism), every challenge can be overcome", the president said.
The president also emphasized the necessity of upgrading the quality of facilities provided to tourists visiting the country and amenities at airports will be streamlined.
The importance of developing places of tourist attraction and building an effective promotional mechanism are also highlighted by the president, the statement said.
Instructions were also given to shopping malls to be equipped with requirements sought after by tourists while the president also instructed the Tourist Board to implement programs with the participation of Sri Lankan envoys overseas to build the image of Sri Lanka and to promote it as a tourist destination.
Sri Lanka achieved 1.9 million tourists last year with over 240,000 visiting during the month of December alone, statistics from Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) showed here last week.
India, China, Britain, Russia and Australia were the top five markets for Sri Lanka tourism last year with Chinese tourists reaching over 167,000.