Speaking at a media conference in Colombo yesterday (06), the minister said this is because the closure will take place during the height of the Tourism season.
The minister said that a record 2.1 million visitors arrived in Sri Lanka in 2016 generating a foreign exchange amounting to 3.5 dollars. The minister added that they will target 2.5 tourists this year regardless of the challenges they are faced with.
The minister further elaborated as follows :
Minister of Tourism Development, Lands and Christian Religious Affairs - John Amaratunga, ministry secretary - Janaka Sugathadasa, Chairman of both Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority - Paddy Withana, DG of the SLTDA - Malraj Kiriella, MD of the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau - Sutheash Balasubramanium, Chairman of the Sri Lanka Retailers Association - Dinesh Weerakkody as well as other several officials attended the media briefing.
Gateway to South Asia 2017
At the press brief, the ministry also announced the a four-day travel fair which will be held in Colombo from May 05-08 this year.
The self funded commercial event - 'Gateway to South Asia 2017', is to attract 250 new tour operators to Sri Lanka. It will also be used as a platform to attract foreign investment to the country by showcasing the government's development programmes such as the Megapolis Plan and other tourism infrastructure development projects such as the airport expansion and development of new highways.