COLOMBO, Feb. 5 (Xinhua) -- Sri Lanka's booming post-war tourist industry is eyeing the lucrative cruise liner market with 27 arrivals already booked for 2013 as the government targets a historic high of 1.2 million travelers.
The vessel Mv Queen Mary 2 arrived at the Colombo harbor on Monday, a statement from the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau said Tuesday.
This luxury carrier, owned by the UK-based company, had more than 2,300 tourists on board, consisting of nationals from the Unisted States., UK, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Canada.
"The local excursion tour operator Gemini Tours and Travels was thereafter busy taking the tourists to prearranged destinations, including the hill city of Kandy and elephant orphanage in Pinnawela and on the Colombo City Tour. The vessel was scheduled to leave for Malaysia, its next destination on Tuesday," the statement said.
Having set sail from the United States on January 10 this year, the vessel was berthed at Cochin, India, just before resuming its journey to Colombo.
According to the Sri Lanka's Ports Authority officials, more than 27 such luxury carriers are programmed to tie-up in Colombo by the end of 2013.
Sri Lanka's tourism has been increasing annually since the end of a three decade war in 2009, attracting more than 1 million tourists in 2012, which was a 17 percent increase over the previous year. The government has set a target of 2.5 million arrivals by 2016.