Monday, 27 September 2010 12:00 AM
Sri Lanka received a staggering 69,000 British visitors in 2010, making the country a key destination for Brits.
The number of British tourists visiting Sri Lanka was up 43 per cent in August, with a year-to-date increase of 31 per cent.
Figures are expected to soar even higher as Sri Lanka's high season approaches.
The rapid rise in popularity is thanks to the country's return to a peaceful, safe state in May 2009, when the government defeated the rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam and unified the island, combined with a dynamic, high-profile marketing and public relations effort.
Sanjika Perera, UK and Ireland director for the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau, said: "If we can maintain this momentum we will pass the 100,000 mark and surpass the 104,000 milestone set in 2004, when tourism to Sri Lanka was booming pre-tsunami."
Brits are increasingly attracted to the country by its wealth of history, culture, wildlife, sunshine and stunning beaches.
Sri Lanka's tourism industry has responded with a huge drive to upgrade hotels and expand accommodation with a large number of high-quality and boutique hotels.
By 2016, Sri Lanka's tourist authority plans to accommodate 2.5 million guests from around the world.
One thrilled visitor is TV personality Bill Oddie, who recently visited to spot the abundant wildlife: "The first thing I can say about Sri Lanka is that it's perfectly obvious we're not going to be here long enough."
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