PM hails Lonely Planet’s reaffirmation of SL as world’s best tourist destination

Thursday, 4 July 2019 03:14 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}


  • Says Sri Lankans must feel proud of this accolade
  • Thanks security forces and tourism sector, which helped keep industry moving
  • Assures Govt. taking steps to assist tourism industry and will announce further measures soon 


By Charumini de Silva

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday hailed the influential Lonely Planet’s reiteration that Sri Lanka is the world’s best destination for tourists despite the Easter Sunday terror attacks. 

“At the beginning of  the year, Lonely Planet magazine named Sri Lanka as the world’s best destination to visit. However, after the Easter Sunday bomb blasts, we thought that we had lost this position.” 

PM Ranil Wickremesinghe

“Many tourists fled the country. But last week, Lonely Planet stated that despite all the troubles Sri Lanka faced due to the attacks, we still remain the best destination for tourists to visit – the best destination in the world,” Prime Minister Wickremesinghe said in a statement.  He said Sri Lankans must feel proud of this accolade and quoted a recent article in the Lonely Planet which, according to the Premier’s statement, said: “We came here and were greeted with a friendly hello by the people. Everyone was friendly and they welcomed us everywhere. We did not see any problems.”

“This is the view of Lonely Planet magazine,” said the Premier and emphasised that that the Government was taking steps to assist the tourism industry and will announce further measures soon. 

“I would like to thank all those in the tourism sector – big and small – who helped to keep the industry moving. I must also thank the members of the security forces who helped us from 21 April, the day of the attacks. They set about capturing those responsible, and all are now in custody. They were able to accomplish this mission within just two months,” Wickremesinghe said.

He reiterated that tourism has a promising future in Sri Lanka. 

“I urge everybody to get together to ensure that the industry thrives and enhances our image in the eyes of the world,” the Prime Minister added.

In her article, Lonely Planet journalist Caterina Hrysomallis (see full story titled ‘Why I won’t give up on Sri Lanka and you shouldn’t either’ on Page 23) wrote: “‘Welcome to Sri Lanka!’ was one of the first greetings I heard in Colombo, the country’s bustling big city. A local graced me with those lovely words from across the street. Not a storekeeper, nor a hawker. Just a person who wanted to pass on a warm hello.” 

She says Sri Lanka is a country generally appreciative of tourism, after all the petite country has endured its fair share of hardship and the attacks in April just added to the list. 

“The toll on tourism has been tremendous on the island state. According to travel consultancy ForwardKeys, average net bookings to and within Sri Lanka fell 186% the week following the attack,” she highlighted. 

She urges readers to not discount the fear many travellers feel, but to also not allow events like this to deter them from continuing to explore, learn and break down stereotypes. She added that countries, including the UK, had softened their travel warnings to Sri Lanka recently.

“The country has been upset, but continues to be an incredible place to visit. It still tops our Best in Travel for 2019,” she added. Her article encourages readers to discover why Sri Lanka is still the best.


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