Tourism is one of Sri Lanka’s oldest industries. For centuries, Silk Route merchants, traders,
and sailors travelling between East Asia and Europe, visited Sri Lanka as the island has always been an ideal destination to transit through and visit. The country’s diversity is great even though it’s a relatively small island, making these diverse experiences more accessible.
Strategically located at the cross roads of eastern and western sea routes, Sri Lanka continues to serve as an easy point of entry to South Asia. Political and Economic stability and an inflow of investment have resulted in plans to make Sri Lanka a Global Logistics Hub in the South Asian region for trade, investment, communications, and financial services.
Sri Lanka’s tourism sector is growing exponentially. It is benefitting from being perceived as a safe and secure country, and wider international interest. This is further enhanced by significant direct investment by the private sector and by overseas investors, as well as positive steps taken by other key stakeholders in recent years.
Travel and tourism is the largest service industry in the world. At almost US$ 8.2 trillion
(2017) it accounts for nearly 10% of global Gross Domestic Product (GDP), 7% of world exports, and the sector indirectly contributes to almost 10% of total employment. It has evolved into a diverse and sophisticated sector and is now recognised as one of the world’s most economically significant. Highly specialised market segments have developed for both leisure and business travel.
The tourism sector has a tremendous effect on global, regional and local trade, investment, infrastructure, incomes and the environment (including climate change). Tourism has demonstrated its potential to substantially reduce poverty and increase shared prosperity within its host countries, many of which are in the developing world. In 2014, tourists spent US$ 413 billion in developing countries – nearly three times the level of development assistance. For many emerging countries, tourism represents up to 40% of services exports (above the world average of 30%.) It provides more employment opportunities for women and youth than almost any other industry; it can motivate integrated, multi- stakeholder conservation and climate change adaptation efforts; and enhance social wellbeing across a lengthy value chain in every corner of the globe.