Just off the Southeast coast of India lies the island nation of Sri Lanka, a place of rich history and incomparable scenery. Sri Lanka’s north is currently reawakening and revealing its beaches, islands and cuisine and is welcoming people. Projects are planned to enhance tourist development zones, Passikudah in particular bristles with luxury resorts aiming to reawaken tourism. Temples and Parks are currently being restored while some of the major hotel development projects are currently underway in the country. In 2012, Post Office worldwide holiday costs barometer named Sri Lanka as the best-valued destination for holidays. The Sri Lankan people are seemingly known for their hospitality; most tourists admire the genuine smile of the people according to airport exit surveys.
For centuries Sri Lanka has been a tourism destination, particularly for European travellers. In the twelfth century, the explorer Marco Polo wrote that Sri Lanka was the finest island in the whole world. For a country where people practice four main religions, Sri Lanka has always appeared to maintain religious harmony among communities. With Buddhism, Islam, Hinduism and Christianity playing crucial roles of lives of people Sri Lanka, the country has developed religious and cultural festivals throughout the year to celebrate the harmony of such diversity.
There are eight world heritage sites in Sri Lanka, including the Central Highlands and the Sinharaja Forest Reserve. Anuradhapura is the largest and oldest of all ancient cities in Sri Lanka, while Polonnaruwa is the second. Sigiriya (also known as Lion Rock) is the archeological rock fortress or ‘lion mountain’ and palace of the Sigiriya situated in the central province in Matale District of Sri Lanka. Kandy became the capital city of the last remaining independent kingdom in Sri Lanka after the Portuguese invaded the coastal regions. Dambulla Cave Temple is the largest and best-preserved cave temple complex in Sri Lanka located in the central part of the country. Galle, the main city and port on the south coast, retains a romantic, old-world atmosphere within its Dutch fort.
Adam’s Peak is the most sacred mountain in the country. Pilgrims from all over climb to its apex by candlelight to stand in what they consider to be the footsteps of Buddha.
Sri Lankan ecotourism has grown into a niche sector, enabling travellers to explore Sri Lanka’s attractions and sights while simultaneously contributing to the well being of the local communities, as well as aiming to make sure the environmental impact is limited. When it comes to wildlife, camping at night may allow a much closer look at the animals and nature without upsetting its organic state. Due to the fact that the nation has lots of waterfalls, most of Sri Lanka’s electricity is powered by hydro-powered energy.
Sri Lanka is a destination for sports tourism, with a lot of sports clubs located around Colombo city. Schools have made sports a compulsory extracurricular activity, emphasising a healthy way of living when it comes to the physical body. The most popular sports include golf, surfing, diving & snorkelling, hot air ballooning, rafting and canoeing, scuba diving, fishing, cycling, hiking, trekking and rock climbing. Hotels tend to offer hiking as part of their package, which include fully trained guides on hand. Hiking is usually done up in the Hill country where mountains and waterfalls are found in abundance. Jungles and nature reserves are also explored with even bird watching as a possibility.
Sri Lanka is the third biggest tea producing country in the world – which plays a complex part of its history and culture. Besides the agricultural production of tea, which accounts for 2.5% of the country’s $60 billion GDP according to CNN International, tea tourism is also rising as a favourite experience for tourists. Tea appreciation classes, tastings, plantations and fields may be toured throughout Sri Lanka in diverse locations.
Considered by many to be a paradise, Sri Lanka aims to thrive in the tourism industry, drawing in more visitors each year.
How does ecotourism in Sri Lanka allow the environment to thrive and improve in its untouched state?