Sri Lanka: Making waves in Arabian travel market

With the paradigm shift all over the globe from mineral resources-based revenue, Sri Lanka has taken the bull by the horn by wading into the tourism world. The Middle East country is leaving no stone unturned to make real her dream of becoming the tourism hub of the Middle East and Pan Arab Regions.

Already, Sri Lanka Tourism has been playing a leading role in the Arab Travel Market to stamp her mark in the regional tourism market. The 2017 edition of ATM made it Sri Lanka’s 14thconsecutive participation: a feat that is being celebrated in the global market of the industry.

Sri Lanka, is an island country in South Asia. She has maritime borders with India to the Northwest and the Maldives to the Southwest.

Sri Lanka’s documented history spans 3,000 years, with evidence of pre-historic human settlements dating back to at least 125,000 years. Its geographic location and deep harbours made it of great strategic importance from the time of the ancient Silk Road through to World War II. Sri Lanka was known from the beginning of British colonial rule until 1972 as Ceylon.

A diverse and multicultural country, Sri Lanka is home to many religions, ethnic groups, and languages.  In addition to the majority Sinhalese, it is home to large groups of Sri Lankan and Indian Tamils, Moors, Burghers, Malays, Kaffirs and the aboriginal Vedda. The country has a rich Buddhist heritage, and the first known Buddhist writings of Sri Lanka, the Pāli Canon, which date back to the Fourth Buddhist council in 29 BC.

Coupled with the above is the fact that the country is blessed with millions of historical artefacts, exotic beaches, green environment and friendly people.

All these attributes, the Sri Lanka Tourism has harnessed to make the country one of the most sought-after tourist destinations in the Middle East and Asia.

In 2016 alone, the country tourism industry recorded the ever highest tourist arrivals in its history hitting an all-time high of 2 million. This, the Sri Lanka Tourism Board stated, was accompanied by a tremendous growth rate of 22.1 per cent compared with the preceding year of 2015.

The growth rate, the body added, would be upped to 2.4 million arrivals goal in 2017 with an estimated growth rate of 26 per cent.

Helping the tourism board to achieve its set goal are the nature-given attributes of the small island. These include the country’s location. Sri Lanka is strategically located at the cross roads of both east and west sea routes while it also serves as the point of entry to South Asia as major international airlines use the country as base to fly into popular cities of the Middle East.

Another of her sterling qualities is security. Sri Lanka is a safe destination and all tourists are free to travel to any part of the country. This is further enhanced by the ease with which foreigners obtain visas online.

Another attribute that stands Sri Lanka in the lead is the location of her beauties. The East is blessed with the finest beaches where tourists can surf and whale watch. In the North, one would be treated to picturesque sights of old temples and beaches while central and southern parts of the country are game sanctuaries. However, being an island, north, east, south and west of Sri Lanka are dotted with beautiful beaches.

This beautiful island destination offers a diverse yet authentic tourist experience across the island. The country is rich in natural resources and boasts the highest biodiversity in Asia. She is also home to the blue whale and Asian elephant.

Little wonder why the world foremost navigator and explorer, Marco Polo, exclaimed when he got to Sri Lanka, “It is undoubtedly the finest island of its size.”


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