COLOMBO, Sept. 25 (Xinhua) -- Sri Lanka's booming post-war tourism industry is trying to expand its market in France and South Korea by participating in travel fairs and organizing events through embassies, the External Affairs Ministry said here on Tuesday.
Eighteen Sri Lankan tour operators took part in the International French Travel Market in Paris last week and gained positive results as it had aroused interest from French travel agents to expand operations in Sri Lanka, said a ministry statement, quoting industry officials.
Meanwhile, officials from Sri Lanka's embassy in South Korea have met with industry experts to discuss increasing travelers to the island.
"Members of the Travel and Tourism Club were convinced of the prospects in Sri Lanka. They welcomed the proposal to establish direct air links between Seoul and Colombo by both the SriLankan Airlines and Korean Air in the immediate future," the ministry said.
Sri Lankan Deputy Economic Development Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardana told media last week that the government had signed a 450-million-U.S. dollar mixed development project with India's Krrish Group, which would include a seven-star hotel in the heart of Colombo.
This is the latest investment since Sri Lanka's tourism took off after the end of a three-decade civil war in 2009.
Several international brands including Shangri-la, Sheraton, Hyatt and Sun City have signed agreements to invest around 2 billion U.S. dollars in hotel projects in Sri Lanka.
During the first eight months of 2012, tourist arrivals rose 15. 8 percent year on year to 622,661, with the August number increasing 9.7 percent. Sri Lanka has set a target to receive 1 million foreign tourists this year.