Cruise tourism has seen a substantial growth in Sri Lanka with the number of cruise line visits keeping increasing since last year, a statement said here on Friday.
The Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB) said that the number of cruise liner visits have gone up from 22 in 2014 to 40 liner visits to date.
"Already 52 ships are being deployed in Asia in 2015 with over 1,000 cruises and voyages being scheduled. Sri Lanka with its excellent geo strategic location, and being a maritime hub, must leverage on this surge," the SLTPB said.
The Sri Lankan Ministry of Ports has proposed constructing a cruise terminal building, which is pending cabinet approval. This is exactly the kind of infrastructure support that is required to fast track cruise tourism promotion which would provide much greater economic benefits and a high return on investment, the SLTPB said.
Vice President of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd (RCI), John Tercek, will undertake a visit to Sri Lanka next month, on an invitation by the SLTPB, to participate as the keynote speaker at the Colombo International Maritime Conference.
He will address the business community on the 4 billion dollar cruise tourism industry.
RCI is one of the top cruise lines in the business ranked third place by Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) for cruises and voyages offered in Asia for 2015.
Sri Lanka's tourism industry, which was once heavily affected by a 30 year civil war which ended in 2009, has been aiming to attract 2.5 million tourist arrivals by the end of 2016.