Sri Lanka prepares for rebirth of tourism industry
Monday 18 October 2010
Post-war Sri Lanka is preparing for a rapid growth in tourism numbers over the coming five years as the local industry gets back on its feet - and international visitors once again have faith in the security situation in the island nation.
The Pacific Asia Travel Association this week predicted around 500,000 tourists would have headed to Sri Lanka by the end of this year while the Sri Lankan government has announced plans to welcome 2.5 million visitors a year and add a further 25,000 hotel rooms nation wide by 2016.
"With an end to its civil war, Sri Lanka has now entered a period of relative peace and political stability and international visitors are responding with strong demand. Actual arrivals are well above the forecast for 2010 as at August,'' PATA said on its website this week.
The official site of the Sri Lanka Tourism is currently heralding the fact that The New York Times listed the country as number one in the "31 places to visit in 2010" (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/10/travel/10places.html?_r=2) while National Geograhpic this year rated the destination as the second best island to visit in the world, behind Cuba.
And this week Sri Lanka's Minister for Economic Development Basil Rajapaksa said the country was expecting new highs for its tourism industry.
He said he hoped also the expat Sri Lankans the world over would help spread the good news.
"This is an opportunity for expatriate Sri Lankans holding other citizenships, living overseas, to visit the island and bring along their friends from those countries. They will appreciate that they can visit the country without any fear for their safety and I invite them all to enjoy what Sri Lanka can offer,'' he told the Colombo Page internet news service.
The country is currently upgrading its famous wildlife parks and zoos while building new hotels and recreation facilities, according to Rajapaksa.
As well as more than 100 kilometers of coastline, rainforest and wildlife parks, Sri Lanka currently has eight UNESCO World Heritage sites, some of which were off-limits during its civil war, which lasted from 1983 until May last year.
Visitors to Sri Lanka in 2009 (by region):
Western Europe 170,123
South Asia 126,205
North East Asia 31,439
Eastern Europe 26,310
North America 24,948
Middle East 23,741
South East Asia 16,890
Sri Lanka Tourism ( http://www.srilanka.travel)
PATA ( http://www.pata.org)
The New York Times' "31 places to visit in 2010" ( http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/10/travel/10places.html?_r=2)
The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations
Hashima: Among the ruins on Japan's Battleship Island, the place that time forgot
Top 10 cheapest cities to visit, according to TripAdvisor
South Africa's new travel rules: From October, families with under-18s will need to show their birth certificates
Harder, better, faster, longer: The best rollercoasters in the world
Weary? In need of some sun? Relax and unwind with a trip to... Iraqi Kurdistan
- 1 Al Pacino on suffering from depression: 'It can last and it's terrifying'
- 2 Half of young women unable to ‘locate vagina’ and 65% find it difficult to say the word
- 3 Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb
- 4 A teacher speaks out: 'I'm effectively being forced out of a career that I wanted to love'
- 5 Mexican woman becomes world’s 'oldest person' at 127
Rotherham child sex abuse scandal: Labour Home Office to be probed over what Tony Blair's government knew - and when
What do immigrants really think of Britain? Polish immigrant's Reddit post goes viral
Ashya King: Parents of five-year-old boy refused permission to visit him in hospital and denied bail at Spanish court
With Douglas Carswell joining Ukip, my party has taken another giant step forward
When elitism grips the top of British society to this extent, there is only one answer: abolish private schools
Ashya King: 'Cruel NHS has not given us the treatment we need', says father of five-year-old with brain tumour who fled to Spain
£20 - 26k + Benefits: Guru Careers: A Marketing Executive / Member Services Ex...
£15,000 - £25,000: Recruitment Genius: A fantastic opportunity has arisen for ...
£30000 - £45000 per annum + Bonus+Benefits+Package: Harrington Starr: VB.NET a...
£30 - 35k + Uncapped Comission (£70k Y1 OTE): Guru Careers: A Business Develop...