Lonely Planet Writer

Sri Lanka is hoping to draw in more travellers with new tourism zones

Sri Lanka is hoping to draw in more travellers by introducing new tourism development zones around the country.

Rock Temple Staircase leading to a grave and the dagga in Sri Lanka.
Rock Temple Staircase leading to a grave and the dagga in Sri Lanka. Image by ©Daniele Carotenuto Photography/Getty Images/Moment Open

Sri Lanka has an incredible range of landscapes, from beautiful beaches and lowlands, to rainforests and hills. The country hopes to develop between five and eight “themed international tourism and family entertainment zones, reports the Colombo Gazette. The areas will be located on state-owned land on a variety of landscapes, from the beach, mountains and forests, and will be selected for their natural beauty.

Elephants in Sri Lanka.
Elephants in Sri Lanka. Image by ©SurangaSL/Shutterstock

The plans, more of which will be revealed later this month, will open up new places to tourism development, in areas like luxury tourism, eco-tourism, family activities, and wellness and yoga-related activities. The first area, Lanka Patuna, is already under construction and will eventually have space for about 25 luxury hotels.

Temple Ruins, Sri Lanka.
Temple ruins, Sri Lanka. Image by ©Javier Suárez Cabeza/500px

The Sri Lanka Tourism Club will develop the necessary infrastructure, but the country is expecting outside investment for the development plans. The club notes that by 2020 the country will require a minimum of 50,000 hotel rooms, meaning that Sri Lanka needs to add about 35,000 new hotel rooms around the country.

A beach in Sri Lanka.
A beach. Image by ©Matt Munro/Lonely Planet

And accessing the country is about to get easier for people in Asia and the Middle East. Last week, SriLankan Airlines announced eleven new destinations, focused in the area, connecting Colombo to  Lahore, Pakistan, Jakarta, Indonesia, Dhaka, Bangladesh, Muscat, Oman, Kolkata, Madurai, Varanasi and Bodh Gaya India, Bahrain, Seychelles and Gan, Maldives, with direct flights.