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FINANCIAL CHRONICLE™ » FINANCIAL CHRONICLE™ » Sri Lanka shows its wild side as country aims to increase tourism

Sri Lanka shows its wild side as country aims to increase tourism

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Sstar
Vice President - Equity Analytics
Vice President - Equity Analytics
Sri Lanka has a huge and diversified eco system, with a larger part of the island nation still green and unexplored.  Many foreign investors have already pumped in money to develop Sri Lanka as a tourist destination.

The island has more than eight national parks and many wildlife sanctuaries. Water tourism is another specialised and unexplored segment of the island nation
"We have built a second international airport even though we have Colombo’s Bandaranaike International Airport.

"This is only to ensure that tourists get access to Yala National Park, which has the highest number of leopards in Asia and boasts of other wildlife in its diversified ecosystem,” said a Sri Lankan tourism department official.

The island has over eight national parks and many wildlife sanctuaries.

Water tourism is another specialised and unexplored segment of the island nation which is picking up in a big way with all those who visit here. Tourism currently contributes to over 5 per cent of its GDP and the government expects the figure to go up to 7.5 per cent next year.

“We have many unexplored areas in the country which tourists would love to visit. "We do not have any major industries in our country and also being an island state we have clean pollution-free beaches,” said another official.

The Sri Lankan government has built good roads to enable easy access to most of the tourist destinations in Sri Lanka. Cheap and affordable hotels are another attraction. However, many foreign tourists face a language issue at holiday resorts and hotels in southern Sri Lanka as the staff are not well versed in English.

Most of the local lungiclad Sinhalese population prefers to speak their national language. The newly built Weligama Bay Resort is located on the beachside in the middle of beautiful Weligama Bay on the southern tip of Sri Lanka, between the historical port town of Galle and the provincial centre Matara.

The beach resort features activities such as snorkelling, sailing and game fishing. Sri Lanka’s west coast is its most Westernised part. A string of beautiful beaches, backed by hundreds of hotels and guesthouses of all sizes and standards are located on the coast from Negombo in the north to Hikkaduwa in the south.

The large resort hotels play host to the European package-tourist industry.
Sri Lanka is also pitching to make the two international airports as gateways to Australia and Maldives. The island nation plans to open more regional airports to promote tourism.

“The past few years have been a challenging period for SriLankan Airlines, but with the planned fleet modernisation we hope to fly to more leisure destinations in the future,” said Chandrasena.

SriLankan Airlines joins oneworld

Sri Lanka has got a new international airport up and running with Chinese financial backing and expects its tourism sector to get a major boost from the venture.
Mattala Rajapaska International Airport (MRIA), is the island’s second international airport located 230 km south of Colombo's Bandaranaike International Airport.

Hong Kong-based carrier, Cathay Pacific, has sponsored Srilankan Airlines inclusion in the global airlines alliance oneworld even as Air India is still struggling to get into Star Alliance.

Sri Lanka has got a new international airport up and running with Chinese financial backing and expects its tourism sector to get a major boost from the venture
Sri Lanka has got a new international airport up and running with Chinese financial backing and expects its tourism sector to get a major boost from the venture
“SriLankan Airlines now becomes the first South-Asian carrier to become part of the oneworld alliance. We are now a strong 15-member airline. "This will help SriLankan Airlines offer seamless connectivity worldwide through our global network,” Bruce Ashby, the chief executive officer of oneworld told journalists here.

MRIA has been developed to cater to the large flow of foreign tourists who track the rich wildlife in this southern province, home to leopards in Asia. SriLankan Airlines CEO, Kapila Chandrasena said its entry into oneworld will best tourism.
“We have a good flow of tourists in our country. Currently 40 per cent of the tourists come to Sri Lanka through our carrier. "With becoming part of oneworld we expect an increase in our incremental value by at least 25 per cent," Chandrasena told Mail Today.

Concerning Indian carriers, Bruce Ashby said oneworld is in talks with Indian carriers including Jet Airways. However Jet Airways is unlikely to partner with oneworld as its new partner Abu Dhabi (Gulf) based carrier Etihad Airways is not part of alliance as another Gulf carrier, Qatar Airways is part of oneworld.

All cars come from abroad

Sri Lanka does not have an auto manufacturing industry and is totally dependent on imports. Interestingly, Toyota has many of its premium models on sale in Sri Lanka, which it has not launched in India. Maruti Suzuki also has a sizeable presence, with the Alto being popular in the entry-level segment. Buses manufactured at Chennai-based Ashok Leyland provide the backbone for the public transport system.  However, not to be left behind, some India-made three wheelers are in major demand.

President Rajapaksa gifts state an airport

President Mahinda Rajapaksa has developed Mattala Rajapaska International Airport in his home state. Sri Lankan leaders seem to be especially fond of their respective states. Recently, President Mahinda Rajapaksa has developed Mattala Rajapaska International Airport (MRIA) in his home state. His 28-year-old son Namal Rajapaksa is Member of Parliament for Hambantota District. The district also has a modernised port, which has been developed in conjunction with the People’s Republic of China.

Buddha can't be clicked

Over 68 per cent of Sri Lankan population is Buddhists. It is prohibited across Sri Lanka to click photos or stand with your back towards the statue of Lord Buddha. Recently, a British woman tourist was deported from the country because of a tattoo of Lord Buddha on her arm. Buddhism is the religion of the country’s majority ethnic Sinhalese.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/indiahome/indianews/article-2620037/Sri-Lanka-shows-wild-country-aims-increase-tourism.html

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