The end of the 30-year-old civil war in the country in May 2009 resulted in more tourist arrivals to Serendib (the origin of the word "serendipity"), as the Arabs called it in the ancient past.When the Portuguese arrived in 1505, they named it Ceilao, which was transliterated into English as Ceylon.
Tourism officials predict high numbers of visitors from abroad, notably India and China, in the future.
Tourist arrivals reportedly "grew by an impressive 50 per cent or an increase to 160,000 from 106,000 visitors in the first quarter of 2010, compared to 2009".
The downside of rising/increased tourism has generated debate as this website indicates. The concerns are valid. The rights of locals and proper care of the environment must be high on the list of priorities when tourism officials plan for the industry's development.
If Sri Lanka learns from the experiences especially the bad ones of other countries, it would be ready for the world.
I was in Sri Lanka last month and my journey began and ended cheerfully with a sense of adventure. Here are some pictures of my trip. More in the next post.
|The three-wheeler taxi service or 'Tuk Tuk' is a common sight in the urban areas. It is fun and a good way to see the sights. The 'Tourist Friendly Tuk Tuk' project was launched in September 2009. For more, click here.|
|Buses are the main mode of public transport.|
|The Sri Lankan railway network covers one of the most scenic landscapes in the world, according to Wikipedia. I took the train from Kandy to Nanu-Oya and the scenery was breathtaking. The trip from Nanu-Oya to Colombo was less interesting, scenery-wise.|
|Let's cross over now while the railway track is clear. This happens daily.|
|The segregation of locals and foreigners at the toilets in railway stations. I wonder why this is so.|
|Vadai for the hungry traveller. This vendor is a common sight throughout the stops during the rail journey.|
|The lovely Kandy Lake in Kandy, Sri Lanka.|
|In ancient times, queens had their own bathing house. Click here.|
|The former Queens' Bathing Pavillion draws many curious tourists.|
|A till box within the premises of a temple in Kandy. A devotee pays his respect after making a donation.|