Sri Lanka is becoming one of the most popular long-haul destinations from the UK, according to The Times of London newspaper.
In an article published on 25 August 2010 titled ‘Sri Lanka tops the charts for UK tourists on a bargain hunt’ the influential paper says that visits from the UK increased by 51 per cent last month compared with 2009, encouraged by big discounting by airlines and hoteliers striving to win back business.
The story explains that the British travel boom to Sri Lankan is due to “the relative calm restored after decades of bombings and bloody battles with the Tamil Tigers and devastation caused by the tsunami in 2004.”
The Times says that one British-based specialist long-haul tour operator, Hayes and Jarvis, reports that bookings for winter and next summer are also up.
The paper adds that some of the best deals for British holidaymakers can be found at the five-star Heritance Ahungalla – designed by the celebrated Sri Lankan architect Geoffrey Bawa – one of the best beach hotels in the country.
The total number of tourist arrivals to Sri Lanka went up 50 percent to 63,339 in July 2010, compared to the corresponding period in the previous year, according to figures released by Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority. In July 2009 only 42,223 tourists arrived in Sri Lanka.
The tourism office figures showed an increase in the number of arrivals from Western Europe, South Asia, East Asia, Middle East and North America in July 2010.
Tourist arrivals to Sri Lanka increased by 48.4% during the first half of 2010 (January-June), with a total of 278,652 arrivals to the country in comparison to 187,729 arrivals during the same period last year (2009).
Sri Lanka was recently ranked as the number one tourist destination by the 'New York Times' in its list of "31 Places to go in 2010".
Just days after this ranking, a leading lifestyle web resource, Daily Candy, weighed in with a similarly enthusiastic travel recommendation, praising Sri Lanka as “the best place ever been”.
The United Kingdom recently stated that it is no longer advising its citizens against travel to Kilinochchi, Mannar, Mullaittivu and Vavuniya.
Commenting on changes to the UK Government’s official advice on travel to Sri Lanka, Britain's Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) stated, ‘regarding to Jaffna Peninsula: there is free movement everywhere outside High Security Zones with a reduction in checkpoints around the Peninsula’.
USA and Germany too recently relaxed travel advisories. The German Embassy said that a long standing travel advisory had been eased enabling German tourists to visit earlier restricted locations such as Yala National Park and Arugam Bay.