COLOMBO, Sept. 26 (Xinhua) -- Sri Lanka's Tourism Minister Harin Fernando said the South Asian island country looks forward to attracting football fans who plan to travel to Qatar for the FIFA World Cup later this year, by serving as their transit or accommodation point, local media reported on Monday.
Fernando was quoted as saying that Qatar may not have sufficient rooms to accommodate all World Cup game spectators, so Sri Lanka plans to take some of them to the island and bring them back to Qatar when their country's team plays again.
"For this end we are talking to all leading airlines from the Gulf to increase flights to Colombo to enable these spectators to take a break in Sri Lanka when their country doesn't play matches," he said.
"I had very successful meetings with senior officials of leading airlines to develop special packages for FIFA World Cup traffic and explore the possibility of increasing the frequency of flights to Colombo," the minister added.
The World Cup will be held in Qatar from Nov. 20 to Dec. 18.
The Sri Lankan government said recently that Sri Lanka is expected to generate at least 2 billion U.S. dollars in revenue from tourism industry per year in its economic recovery efforts. ■