The New York Times has named Sri Lanka as the No. One travel destination worldwide in a ranking of “31 Places To Go in 2010.”

At the same time, Daily Candy, a luxury-living website, has devoted its entire travel issue to Sri Lanka, telling readers that “you’ll be roaming the south for adventure (elephant safaris), history (colonial fort towns, old Buddhist temples), rain forests (and mountains and tea plantations), and gorgeous beaches. It’s pretty much the best place we’ve ever been.”

Both articles note that security is no longer a concern since the recent successful conclusion of the conflict with the terrorist group LTTE in May 2009.

The secret of Sri Lanka is apparently out. Tourism has leaped forward in the last seven months, increasing at double digit rates each month since June 2009. Sir Lankan tourism officials plan to add 25,000 3-to-5 star hotel rooms to the island nation of 20 million people by 2016, many of them luxurious beach and mountainside accommodations like the ones the two articles rave about.

Sri Lanka expects more than 500,000 visitors in 2010, but more than 2 million annually six years from now. But while the number of tourists are increasing, total visitors have yet to catch up with other Asian destinations, make Sri Lanka an affordable, relatively undiscovered gem and giving travelers a world unto themselves.“ People are discovering how wonderful Sri Lanka truly is,” said Jaliya Wickramasuriya, Sri Lanka’s ambassador to the U.S. “We have many people to thank for making our country peaceful, pleasant and prosperous, from the leaders who successfully ended our long-war against terrorism to the citizens who welcome our foreign friends with open arms to the thousands of Sri Lankans living abroad who spread the goodwill and charm of our native land. As these articles proclaim, Sri Lanka is a beautiful place that is only getting better.”

The Times reports that, “The island, with a population of just 20 million, feels like one big tropical zoo: elephants roam freely, water buffaloes idle in paddy fields and monkeys swing from trees. And then there’s the pristine coastline. The miles of sugary white sand flanked by bamboo groves that were off-limits to most visitors until recently are a happy, if unintended byproduct of the war.”

Daily Candy observes: “Sri Lanka is incredibly chic, very India meets Vietnam. (You’ll hear architect Geoffrey Bawa’s name a lot.)”The Times reports that visitors can find pristine beaches -- and still a few road checkpoints -- in Northern Sri Lanka, where the fighting occurred. “While a few military checkpoints remain,” it reports, “vacationers can lounge on poolside hammocks under palm trees or snorkel in its crystal-clear waters. Or they can order cocktails at the Nilaveli Beach Hotel (, a collection of recently renovated bungalows with private terraces.”

Daily Candy takes readers on a cross-country tour of Sri Lanka, suggesting stops at Kandy, highland tea gardens and beaches, such as those in Tangalle and Galle.“The swank Amanwella compound,” it writes,”consists of bungalows scattered across a coconut grove outside Tangalle. The service is Amanawesome, but prices are more affordable than Aman’s usual rates (a rare civil war perk). Force yourself away from the blissful beach to visit Udawalawe National Park. You’ll see monkeys and peacocks, but elephants are the main event.”

As the website notes, “Really, there’s only one downside to Sri Lanka: Eventually, you have to leave.”

For more information, visit

Embassy of Sri Lanka
Washington DC

15 January 2010


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