John Amaratunga to promote Sri Lanka to Israelis

Tourism and Christian Religious Affairs Minister John Amaratunga said he hopes to promote Sri Lanka as an emerging tourism destination to Israelis.

“Jewish traders visited Sri Lanka in the 8th and 9th centuries, so we have a long relationship with Israel,” Amaratunga told The Jerusalem Post. “I’m trying to get Israelis to visit Sri Lanka.”

The number of Israeli tourists visiting Sri Lanka increased 34% in 2016 to 10,391 visitors, which was the largest percentage increase in foreign tourists to Sri Lanka, according to the Tourism Ministry. But this is still a minuscule percentage of the approximately 2 million tourists to visit the island nation in 2016.

Amaratunga was speaking on the sidelines of the opening of the International Mediterranean Tourism Market in Israel, a conference that showcases Israeli and regional tourism industries.

Ten tourism ministers from around the world participated in the conference, which concludes today.

Ministers and senior tourism officials from Italy, Kenya, Madagascar, Norway, Romania, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Zanzibar, Ethiopia, Lithuania, the Philippines and Kazakhstan were in attendance, among others. (Colombo Gazette)