Tourism gets much-needed boost from globally reputed magazines

Travel + Leisure, a US-based travel magazine which has 4.8 million readers worldwide, ranked Sri Lanka No. 1 on its list of “The 15 Best Islands in the World” released on Wednesday (10).

Sri Lanka received the highest score of 92.12 out of 100 in the rankings based on the votes by the magazine’s global readership, with Palawan in the Philippines and Bali in Indonesia ranked second and third in the list, respectively.

Travel + Leisure noted that Sri Lanka is recovering from the impact of the Easter attacks that claimed the lives of around 40 tourists and over 250 people in total and that the island had not lost any of its beauty.

“After the terrorist attacks in April, Sri Lanka’s booming tourism industry took a hit, but the island country is on the mend – and as glorious as ever to visit. It’s worth clearing your calendar to spend as much time as possible on this 25,000-square-mile jewel located off the coast of India.”
The magazine made special note of wildlife attractions of Sri Lanka along with other natural attractions.

“Animal enthusiasts can explore its national parks and spot wildlife including leopards, elephants, and peacocks, while its sprawling tea plantations offer views out over the island’s lush, green hills. You could happily spend weeks on these inland adventures, but you won’t want to miss the coast where divers, snorkelers, and waders alike revel in the cerulean waters that whales, dolphins, and sea turtles are lucky enough to call home.”

This accolade came only a few days after Lonely Planet reaffirmed its ranking originally made of Sri Lanka in October as the best place to visit in 2019, in spite of the Easter Sunday attacks.

“The country has been upset but continues to be an incredible place to visit. It still tops our Best in Travel for 2019,” the influential travel magazine said in its latest article on Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka was named the best country in the world to visit in 2019 by Lonely Planet in October, citing the improved transport links, new hotels, and a growing number of activities as the reasons for the No. 1 ranking.

It highlighted Sri Lanka’s food, the “epic” train rides, the Hill Country, and the “incomparable” beaches as reasons it should still be on the top of tourists’ travel plans.

“While we don’t discount the fear many travellers feel, we should not allow events like this to deter us from continuing to explore, learn, and break down stereotypes. In recent weeks, countries have softened their travel warnings to Sri Lanka, including the UK,” Lonely Planet writer Caterina Hrysomallis noted on its website today.

These rankings are welcome news for the struggling tourism industry, which is emerging from the Easter Sunday attacks slowly. As per latest data released by Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA), tourist arrivals in June almost doubled to 63,072 from 37,802 in May, although they were 57% lower compared to June 2018. In May, arrivals were 37,802, down by 71% from the previous year.