Despite the ‘Lonely Planet’ recognition of Sri Lanka as the best country in the world to visit in 2019, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe today admitted that there are shortcomings which must be addressed.
The Prime Minister said in a statement that since 2015, tourism was the top priority of the Government.
He said that while efforts taken to boost tourism have shows results, the authorities cannot be complacent.
The Prime Minister said that more remains to be done in the tourism sector.
Almost 10 years after the end of its civil war, Sri Lanka was named the best country in the world to visit in 2019 by Lonely Planet. Better transport links, new hotels and a growing number of activities were cited as the reason the south-Asian island was chosen for the top spot in the guidebook publisher ’s annual Best in Travel awards, the Guardian reported yesterday.
“Already notable to intrepid travellers for its mix of religions and cultures, its timeless temples, its rich and accessible wildlife, its growing surf scene and its people who defy all odds by their welcome and friendliness after decades of civil conflict, this is a country revived,” says Lonely Planet author Ethan Gelber in the Best in Travel 2019 book, published yesterday.
Tourist visits to Sri Lanka have increased dramatically since the end of the 26-year conflict, from 447,890 in 2009 to an all time high of 2.1 million last year, a figure the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority hopes to double by 2020.
Renovations made to the rail system have opened up Jaffna and much of north for the first time since 1990 – an area that was previously considered too dangerous for tourists. The scenic rail routes in Sri Lanka are now widely thought to be some of the best in the world.
Motorways have also been built as far south as Matara, and the number of domestic flight routes has increased in recent years, too: for instance, from the capital Colombo, on the west coast, to Batticaloa, on the opposite side of the island, in 45 minutes. (Colombo Gazette)