Sri Lanka and Indian state to develop tourism

by Suresh Krishnamoorthy, The Hindu, June 27, 2007

HYDERABAD, India -- Sri Lanka and Andhra Pradesh will soon join hands in a bid to leverage the tourism potential of the Buddhist circuit to woo international tourists, said P.M. Amza, Deputy High Commissioner for Sri Lanka in Southern India.

On a recent visit here, he said a network was being put in place to promote a single package showcasing the awesome tourism potential in Sri Lanka and AP that were separated by a short flight. He said he had set the ball rolling on the idea that was still at a conceptual stage by meeting Tourism Minister A. Ramnarayan Reddy.

A team of Sri Lankan tourism officials are expected here to take it forward, he said.

The diplomat said the idea was born from the concept that potential tourists from places where Buddhism was practised were actually looking for such a package.

They would welcome the plan to take a week or a 10-day long vacation that would include visits to two different, culturally-rich countries, he opined.

“Sri Lanka has always had a very strong bond based on a culturally and religiously-rich cooperation. We are grateful to India for having given us Buddhism.

The Buddhist tourist circuit in Andhra Pradesh can certainly provide a spiritual break for at least three days and tourists could take another three days off exploring Sri Lanka,” he said.

Sri Lanka, with its 20 million population spread over a 65,635 square km area, has always experienced a strong affinity towards India, he said. IT, bio-technology, telecom and tourism sectors were doing well and they wanted to consolidate these strengths further, he said.