Sri Lanka hails World Twenty20 impact

8th Oct 2012

Sri Lankan tourism officials have hailed the impact of the ICC World Twenty20 competition, despite the host nation failing to chase down a modest target against the West Indies in the final.

Thousands of holidaymakers from all over the world flocked to the Indian Ocean Island, with hotels reporting full bookings in the host cities of Galle, Kandy and Colombo for the duration of the three-week limited overs cricket extravaganza.

More than 6,000 hotel rooms were booked for the duration of the tournament, generating an estimated Rs200 million (Dh5.7 million) for the economy.

A Colombo-based resort manager said: "The T20 has really been a boon to our industry and, with new venues added in scenic places like Hambantota or Dambulla, we should look at cricket tourism more seriously."

Some 35,000 fans packed into the R. Premadasa Stadium in Colombo for the final, but the home support will have been disappointed to see their idols fail to chase down a modest 138 for victory.

A Marlon Samuels 78 inspired the West Indies to a weak-looking 137-6 from their 20 overs, but only captain Mahela Jayawardene, wicket-keeper Kumar Sangakarra and bowler Nuwan Kulasekara managed to reach double figures as Sri Lanka were skittled for just 101 with eight balls remaining.

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