Sri Lanka woos Indian tourists

January 13th, 2009 - 8:14 pm ICT by IANS  

Ahmedabad, Jan 13 (IANS) Sri Lanka is an ideal tourist destination for people from India as it offers an experience “Indians want”, senior officials from the nation said here Tuesday.”I see India as our biggest source of market as our product offering is very close to what the Indians want,” Bernard Goonetilleke, chairman of the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority and the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau, told reporters here.

Sri Lanka has some of the best beaches in the region, cuisines that Indians relish, religious sites including 52 Ramayana sites of tremendous spiritual and cultural interest, and hills and valleys, Goonetilleke said.

Indians are merely 2.5 hours away from Sri Lanka from 11 Indian cities making it the most accessible destination by far, he added.

Sri Lankan Tourism Minister Milinda Moragoda was here to address the two-day annual Vibrant Gujarat Global Investors Summit, which concluded Tuesday, and to kick-start the 2009 marketing plans for Sri Lanka in India.

The Ramayana Trail - only recently identified by the tourism board and the authority - has over 52 sites that can be traced back to the Hindu epic and are of religious importance to a majority of Indians, said Seenivasagam Kalaiselvam, director general of the tourism authority, and one of the key researchers who identified these sites.

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