As I mentioned in one of my previous posts, the civil war that ravaged this country for over three decades prevented the country from benefiting from its great potential for tourism. This country offers a variety of experiences for travelers that would be very marketable to those living in developed countries such as its beaches, wildlife, scenic beauty, culture and festivals.
While the beaches may speak for themselves, Sri Lanka has a variety of wildlife parks that would be attractive to all different types of tourists such as the Udawalawe National park (famous for elephant watchin), the gorgeous Wasgamuwa National park, the larger Wilpattu National park which is home to a variety of leopards and many more. In addition to wildlife, Sri Lanka’s geography is fitting for the growing market for sports tourism. In Kitulgala a family could go white water rafting while in the Arugam bay young travelers might enjoy surfing or boating. Of course there would be ample opportunities for trekking in the diverse wildlife areas all over this island.
The course of this blog post is not to sell a vacation to Sri Lanka, of course, but rather to demonstrate just how much Sri Lanka lost because of this conflict. Since the end of the civil war, the situation has certainly improved. Tourism has just about doubled and in 2011, two years after the end of the civil war, Sri Lanka made $1.4 billion from tourism. The government has plans to increase this business even more in the coming years. Their plans include increasing arrivals from 650,000 people to 2.5 million people in 2016 and quadruple tourist-based employment by this time. This refocusing of the economy and of the operations of the government is certainly positive. With such ugly and ugly and violent history it is hard, sometimes, to picture the potential beauty that this country has to offer citizens world-wide. Whether or not these plans pan out depends on the enduring stability of this country and the ability of Tamils and Sinhalese to live peacefully with one another.