German Ambassador Jens Plotner told the media that Germany has relaxed the travel advisory after the war and it will be further relaxed from this month onwards.
The number of tourists to Sri Lanka is increasing rapidly and the country has become a popular destination due to its tropical charm and value for money. President Mahinda Rajapaksa has set an ambitious goal to attract over 2.5 million tourists by 2016.
According to Ambassador Plotner, the only area which Germany has not yet recommended its tourists to travel is the extreme North as foreigners are still not permitted to travel to Jaffna without ministry permission due to landmine clearing operations. “I hope this will be dropped in the near future. Once the state of emergency is completely lifted there will be a situation where there would be no specific travel advisory at all”, he said. Plotner further mentioned that Sri Lanka was popular as a destination and the country has the potential to develop as one of the best eco-friendly tourist destinations in Asia, and also the best country for Ayurveda treatment.
“Many German tourists visit Sri Lanka for Ayurveda treatment. This is another sector where Sri Lanka has a distinct advantage to popularise the country among tourists. This sector needs to be developed more”, he said.
The German Government has pledged nearly US$ 15 million for the country’s development activities, including the de-mining and poverty alleviation programs in the North and the East.