Sri lanka is a small island, about 270 miles long and 150 wide as the crow flies, which lies like a pendant at the extreme Southern tip of India. Small, with mountain in the center the tea plantations are situated and a coastline fringed with sandy beaches that today attract tourists from Scandinavia and West Germany, the beautiful island, with its luxuriant vegetation and striking scenery, has rightly been called the “pearl of the Indian Ocean”. Almost all visitors to the island wax ecstatic not only over its beauty and the spender of its ancient ruins and monuments, but also over the warmth, hospitality, and good humor of the Sri Lankans as a people, who among other things, can laugh at themselves and irreverently retell stories about the foibles of their fellow citizens, especially the politicians. Arguably, no other country in South or Southeast Asia, expecting Thailand, is more open and inviting to tourists, travelers, researchers and fieldworkers, and seekers of Buddhist truths.
Sri Lanka Tourism
Sri Lanka witnessed a strong upsurge in tourism after the end of the civil war in 2009. With Sri Lanka being ranked at the first position in the “31 Places to go in 2010” published by the New York Times, co-hosting the Cricket World Cup from February to April 2011, and the year 2011 being declared as the “Visit Sri Lanka” year by the government, the country witnessed record levels of tourist arrivals in the early months of 2011. And the 2017, total arrivals amount is over 2.1 Million.
The Board of Investments (BOI) in Sri Lanka is offering incentives for development of hotels and other tourism facilities. According to the BOI website, the government currently offers a five-year tax holiday on any project with a minimum investment of US$500,000. To encourage projects in the northern and eastern provinces, the government offers additional incentives, depending on the nature and scale of the project.
It is interesting to note that all countries forming the top ten source markets for Sri Lanka have been provided the option of a ‘Visa on Arrival’ by the Sri Lankan government. Currently, approximately 80 nationalities are allowed the option of obtaining a visa on arrival for tourism purposes, which is valid for a period of 30 days. This illustrates the pro-tourism stance of the government.