TOURISM & CULTURE

More than seven centuries ago, Marco Polo described one of the gems in the treasury of the King of Sri Lanka, a magnificent ruby, as “brilliant beyond comparison”.

That description might just as well apply to Sri Lanka itself, for indeed no holiday destination can be compared with this beautiful island's miles of gorgeous beaches, ancient ruined cities shrouded in timeless mystery, a rich natural heritage and a uniquely fascinating living culture.

A history stretching back to the sixth century BC, has endowed this island with the richest treasury of ancient cities, shrines and temples, from the 2500-year-old grandeur of Anuradhapura, the cave temples of Dambulla, the rock palace of Sigiriya and the towering Buddha statues of Polonnaruwa to the temple of Kandy and the colonial battlements of Galle.

  • Eight sites of Sri Lanka have been inscribed in the UNESCO World Heritage, namely, the ancient city of Polonnaruwa, the ancient city of Sigiriya, the Golden Temple of Dambulla, the sacred city of Anuradhapura,the sacred city of Kandy, Sinharaja Forest Reserve and the Cultural Highlands of Sri Lanka. In addition to the cultural heritage, one can find around the island, pockets of forest and wilderness sheltering hundreds of rare species of flora and fauna, herds of elephants and troops of raucous monkeys to gorgeous birds and butterflies. The Traveler Magazine of the national Geographic Channel has named Sri Lanka’s rain forest preserves, known as the Central Highlands,(recently added to the UNESCO’s world heritage list) as one of the world best places for visit in 2012, out of total 15 sites.

  • In Sri Lanka's hill country, cool mountains offer a delightful contrast to the tropical sunshine of the coast, lush green plantations carpeting misty hillsides producing the world's finest tea.
  • Around the city of Ratnapura, the earth yields up a bounty of precious and semi-precious stones - sapphires, rubies, alexandrite and amethysts.
  • Each of these unmatched attractions is within a few hours of some of the finest beach resorts of the Indian Ocean island and Sri Lanka's commercial capital and gateway, Colombo. Sri Lanka had received praise as a tourist destination by the National Geographic Channel, as well, which ranked Sri Lanka as the 2nd best island to visit and emphasized the fact that the island has “absolutely everything in a small space”.
  • The world renowned travel guide and digital media publisher “The Lonely Planet”, has named Sri Lanka as the number one destination in the world to travel in year 2013 and claims that “Sri Lanka is spectacular, it’ affordable and it’s still mostly uncrowded and Now is the best time to discover it “.It has highlighted the emerging new popular places to visit in Sri Lanka, including the newly opened up East coast and less traveled traveled paths in the western coast as well.
  • Tourism sector has been experiencing an impressive growth both in terms of arrivals and the revenue to the country in foreign exchange in the wake of the return of peace and normalcy in the country in 2009. Achieving another remarkable milestone in the country’s booming tourism industry, tourist arrivals reached one million beyond its set target of 950,000 arrivals for the year 2012 and the earnings for that year is over one billion (US$) an increase by 16% compared to the year 2011.
  • Sri Lanka's tourist arrivals rose to 21.8% in May 2013 compared to the same period last year.In the month of May, 70,026 tourists arrived in the country compared to 57,506 in May, 2012.

    Overall arrivals from North America, US, Western Europe, Eastern Europe and South Asia had shown an increase compared to the arrivals during the same period in 2012.

    The country targets 2.5 million tourist arrivals by 2016.

    Since the end of the war against the Tamil Tiger terrorists in May 2009, the country has seen a steady rise in tourist arrivals every year for the past four years.
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  • Each of these unmatched attractions is within a few hours of some of the finest beach resorts of the Indian Ocean island and Sri Lanka's commercial capital and gateway, Colombo. Sri Lanka had received praise as a tourist destination by the National Geographic Channel, as well, which ranked Sri Lanka as the 2nd best island to visit and emphasized the fact that the island has “absolutely everything in a small space”.

Last Updated on Monday, 04 November 2013 13:57

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