India, Lanka to promote bilateral tourism

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New Delhi, Dec 17 (UNI) Discussing ways to strengthen bilateral relations in the tourism sector, Sri Lanka today asked India to promote the Buddhist centres in South India, while seeking investment from Indian hotel chains to build budget hotels in the ''island nation''.

Tourism Minister Ambika Soni discussed these issues with her Sri Lanakan counterpart Milinda Moragoda in a 40-minute-long meeting here.

Ms Soni said the Joint Working Group (JWG), constituted in 2004, could discuss and work out the modalities of promotion of tourism-related projects between the two countries.

In this context, she suggested the JWG should meet immediately.

Mr Moragoda also accepted the suggestion and agreed to convene the meeting to accelerate the pace of cooperation in the tourism sector.

Ms Soni invited the Sri Lankan Tourism to participate in travel fairs and marts in India.

According to official figures for 2006, 154,813 tourists visited India from Sri Lanka and the outbound tourist traffic from India was nearly 115,000.

Buddhist sites in India are the main attraction for the Sri Lankan travellers.

UNI

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