Sri Lanka expects an extra 2.5 million holidaymakers by 2016, according to a tourism academic.
The bold assessment was made by Sri Lankan lecturer Upali Rathnayake, who based his prediction on a 38% rise in tourist arrivals to the Indian Ocean island over the last 18 months.
Several leading Sri Lankan scholars were discussing tourism at a media workshop held by the Economic Department of Colombo University.
Among those was Sri Lankan Airways official Buddika Hewawasam, who claimed that around 127,000 holidaymakers arrived in the country last year from India, with a further 20,000 jetting in from China.
"Community-based tourism is important to develop this sector," said Bhaswara Senanka Gunarathna, the chairman of Sri Lanka's Tourism Promotion Bureau.
"People in the country need to think that tourists are also a part of the country's economy. It will be a new development point of view."
Dr Suranga Silva, a lecturer and coordinator within Colombo University's Economic Department, added that tourism in the Northern and Eastern parts of the island can be developed.
"Every part of the country is connected with tourism," said Silva. "With the development of tourism all other industries can also develop."
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