Sri Lankan cricket stars seek Indian tourists during tour

June 14th, 2008 - 10:55 am ICT by IANS  

By P. Karunakharan
Colombo, June 14 (IANS) Aiming to make the full use of the Indian cricket team’s tour here next month, Sri Lanka’s all-time cricket stars are flying to Mumbai Sunday on a campaign to promote Indian tourist arrivals to the island nation, officials here said. Dileep Mudadeniya, Managing Director of the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB), said that Sri Lanka’s all time cricket stars, the likes of former caption Arjuna Ranatunga, Arvinda de Silva, incumbent skipper Mahela Jayawardene, Muttiah Muralitharan and Kumar Sangakkara would be accompanying the top tourism board officials to Mumbai for this purpose.

“In Mumbai, they will be holding a press conference and a meeting with the key travel agents on Sunday, aiming to attract maximum possible Indian tourists to Sri Lanka during the Indian cricket team tour here beginning next month,” Mudadeniya told IANS.

He said that SLTPB was going to offer the Indian tourists an “individual price-based package”, which he said would include air fare (Sri Lankan Airlines), sight-seeing, accommodation and local transportation”.

He said that the SLTPB was expecting to draw not less than 8000 Indian cricket fans in July and August, during which Sri Lankan and Indian cricket teams are scheduled to play three test matches and five one-day internationals at Colombo, Galle and Dambulla international stadiums.

“Since Indian cricket maestro Sachin Tendulker is expected to break West Indian Brian Lara’s test run record in Sri Lanka, we hope that a lot of Indians would want to witness that grand occasion,” Mudadeniya said.

The first test cricket match between India and Sri Lanka is scheduled to commence at the Colombo Sinhalese Sports Club on July 23, while the second test is to be played at the Galle stadium between July 31 and Aug 4.

He said that during the SLTPB has made arrangements to hold a five-day “night beach fiesta” on a grand scale to entertain the Indian tourists at the nearby Hikkaduwa beach, a well-known tourist spot for coral reefs in the country.

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