WASHINGTON: National Geographic Traveller magazine has named Sri Lanka among its top six destinations for world travellers in 2012, lauding the island nation’s heritage sites, wildlife, lush landscapes and pristine beaches.
Sri Lanka, Traveller writes in its November/December issue, means “resplendent isle, and the natural charms of this pear-shaped island in the Indian Ocean that nearly kisses the southeast tip of India are indeed splendid… Sri Lanka’s hill country features stunning scenery, tea plantations, and ancient Buddhist temples.”
Traveller magazine also mentions Sri Lanka’s many heritage sites and its colonial history: “The Portuguese and the Dutch once waged proxy wars here; by 1802 the island was a British colony.”
And it notes the successful conclusion of the most recent conflict, against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, which ended with the terrorist group’s defeat in 2009, opening the door to increased tourism.
“Today peace prevails,” Traveller reported.
Sri Lanka tourism has grown impressively, with a 52 per cent increase in 2010 compared to 2009. An even larger increase is expected for all of 2011.
With those increases, the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority has outlined a plan to reach a 30,000 hotel-room capacity by 2015, when the total number of annual tourists is expected to reach 2.5 million. Special focus has also been put on increasing the level of service in tourist-related industries.
Recently, top hotel chains such as Starwood (Sheraton), Marriott, Shangri La and Taj have announced plans for new construction in Sri Lanka. A number of existing hotels are also undergoing renovation.
Sri Lanka offers visitors a wide variety of unique venues, from broad white beaches to mountain vistas, wildlife parks teeming with elephants, leopards and more, rolling tea plantations, spas, adventure tourism, surfing and ancient UNESCO World Heritage sites.
As such, Sri Lanka has received a number of favourable travel reviews since 2010, beginning that year with a New York Times’ ranking as the number one place to visit.
National Geographic also included Sri Lanka on its top trips in 2010, and several popular travel websites, including DailyCandy.com (http://www.dailycandy.com/online/article/79305/DailyCandy-Goes-to-Sri-
Lanka) and Lonelyplanet.comhttp://www.lonelyplanet.com/sri-lanka/travel-tips-and-articles/76501) have also raved about Sri Lanka.