Sri Lanka’s sudden emergence as a global tourism hotspot is no accident, as the island nation has seemingly everything to offer the discerning traveller. For centuries travellers have sung their praises of her innumerable charms, and once again the rediscovery of the world’s resplendent isle has begun.
This time the internet has made the rediscovery a lot easier and brought it to a wider global audience. After suffering almost three decades of civil conflict, during which the country remained firmly off the global travel map, the island nation is now back on it and having Lonely Planet describe Sri Lanka as the “jewel of the Indian Ocean” in its “top ten places to visit in 2011” is certainly helping.
Tourist arrivals are significantly up after the war ended in May 2009. Where the best war years saw no more that 300,000 tourist arrivals, 2010, which was the first full year of peacetime saw the numbers swell to over 700,000. This all started with The New York Times featuring Sri Lanka as the number one (#1) destination to visit in 2010, in this report.
Further adding to the swell in visitor number throughout 2010 were several media reports citing the wonders and beauty of the country, and this report by National Geographic Magazine ranking Sri Lanka number 2 in its “20 best destinations of 2010” was amongst the best of them. Several media reports have also given ample coverage to many large tourism infrastructure projects being developed by international luxury hotel chains all across the island, adding to a desperately needed increase in available hotel rooms.
For 2011 the international media and tourism experts predict there will be a boom in Sri Lanka’s tourism industry due to the prevailing peace and such global events as the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 matches currently taking place on the island.
The Cricket World Cup has drawn huge attention and below is a Facebook status update from a travelling cricket fan, visiting Sri Lanka to watch the games:
The Independent, a leading UK newspaper says that Sri Lanka’s tourism industry is about to take a great leap forward. In its February 15th issue, the newspaper said that Sri Lanka would be the best tourist destination in the world and added that with the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 attracting thousands, the prevailing peace, the abundant natural beauty, great adventure, beaches and eco-tourism, an old civilisation and archaeological remains, the country will become a cynosure for foreign tourists.
Sri Lanka caters for every sort of traveller – be it the budget traveller, or those seeking high-end luxury – accommodation is available across a broad price range, from affordable beachside cabanas to private, ultra-luxury boutique hotels and five star properties. Several of the high-end boutique properties are featured in acclaimed luxury travel magazine Condé Nast Traveller.