Ahmedabad, August 21 (DeshGujarat) – Sri Lanka, the Pearl of the Indian Ocean, is back to normal after the recent political crisis and is looking to welcome more than 1 million tourists this year, the country’s tourism minister said.
Sri Lanka and India share very close religious, historical, and cultural relations. Indians account for the highest number of tourists to Sri Lanka, and the island nation is gearing up to welcome more tourists from the country.
“There is a lot of negative news about Sri Lanka owing to the recent political situation, but the crisis is over now. The negative news does not reflect the situation in Sri Lanka and is one of the reasons for the low tourist numbers. I assure you that Sri Lanka is up and running to welcome Indian tourists, and invite more Indians to visit our country. Sri Lanka is not just about beautiful beaches but has a lot more to offer. It is the ideal destination for tourists, weddings, conferences, solo travellers, honeymoon couples, and more,” said Mr. Harin Fernado, Minister of Tourism and Lands, Government of Sri Lanka.
Mr. Fernado was in Ahmedabad on Saturday as a part of Sri Lanka Tourism’s initiative to reach out to tourists from Gujarat.
Sri Lanka attracted 2.3 million tourists in the year 2018, but the numbers fell in 2019 because of the Easter bombings and were impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020 and 2021. The country has attracted 5,00,000 tourists so far, including 76,000 from India, and aims to cross the 1 million mark by the end of the year. The peak tourism season for Sri Lanka is from October to January. It is also expecting the festival season in India to drive tourist flow to the country. Sri Lanka’s tourism-related revenue has been close to $900 million this year and is expected to touch $2 billion for the year.
Former cricketer Sanath Jayasuriya, who is the Brand Ambassador for Sri Lanka Tourism, and a part of the SL delegation, said “We are here to tell people that Sri Lanka is back to normal and is safe for travel. Sri Lanka has many good things to offer. Tourism is one of our main sources of income and we want people to visit Sri Lanka. We look forward to welcoming people from India to our country.”
Sri Lanka is exploring new avenues to attract more tourists. It is looking to give a boost to religious tourism and is working with various ashrams for attracting more religious tourists to the country. Sri Lanka also has a strong presence in the wellness segment with yoga, I meditation, and Ayurveda. It also offers various vegetarian food delicacies and cuisines. A ferry service from Pondicherry to Sri Lanka has already been approved and is expected to begin services in 3-4 weeks, and Sri Lanka is also looking at improved air connectivity.