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Monday, October 3, 2016


Opportunities for Tourism Industry Sri Lanka witnessed a strong upsurge in tourism after the end of the civil war in 2009. Tourism, which forms 0.6% of the total GDP of the country, was one of the fastest growing sectors in the Economy, growing by39.8% in 2010 over 2009. The data provides the tourist arrivals from 2000to 2010, clearly showing the rise in tourist arrivals in 2010 (over the rest of the decade) with political stability and economic resurgence of the country. 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 of2011; a trend that is expected to continue for the remainder of the year. 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. The government has set a target of receiving 2.5 million tourist arrivals by the year 2016. In order to achieve this target, several promotional and developmental activities have been initiated. One such promotional initiative is the declaration of the year 2011 as “Visit Sri Lanka Year”, where each month is promoted with a special attraction and festival. Sri Lanka received the massive opportunity to organize the common wealth games in Hambantota. The Commonwealth Games will provide an opportunity for the country to showcase its tourist attractions and build a better infrastructure. 


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