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Travel to Sri Lanka grows, along with obstacles for tourism
India and the United Kingdom are currently the largest sources of tourists, though now it is claimed that the Eastern European tourists who came during the confict are being ignored in favore of Western travelers. Russian-speaking tourists are being turned away in the tourist boom, hotel prices have soared, and Russian guides complain of lost income. A proposed change in the visa process could discourage more visitors, though the government claims the new system is designed to help travelers.
The government hopes to allow tourism to develop naturally without direct intervention, though some small businesses feel they are struggling while larger-scale projects are planned. In northwest Sri Lanka, an adventure tourism zone is being developed with whale watching, scuba daving, and an underwater vistor center. A similar Tourism Promotion Zone is in the works near the country's international airport to capture a similar transit market as Dubai, and increasing Sri Lanka's flights as a major Asian hub.
Have you been to Sri Lanka? Planning to travel there now that warnings have ceased? Leave us your experiences in the comments.
[Photo of Sri Lanka's Pinewala Elephant Orphanage by Flickr user Adametrnal.]
Anthony Bourdain enjoys Sri Lankan street food in the below video.