Sri Lanka: Golden Moment

By Joanna Booth

The Wallawwa Gardens & Pool

Sri Lanka’s luxury sector is beginning to boom

When your brochure mates are customarily Mauritius, the Seychelles and the Maldives, you could feel like a poor relation.

Sri Lanka has traditionally been the value card in the Indian Ocean pack, fantastic for sunshine that won’t break the bank and cultural trips for experienced independent travellers relatively unfazed by time-consuming and somewhat unpredictable journeys.No longer.

If luxury tourism players in the rest of the Indian Ocean look in their rearview mirrors, they’ll see Sri Lanka accelerating towards them – fast.

The Journey Upmarket

Over the past six years, Sri Lanka has seen its tourist arrivals grow by an average of about 20%-25% each year. This has enabled both public and private investment in hotels, shops, restaurants and infrastructure to increase.

Now you can book a first-class train ticket online, use a variety of internal flight options or travel on new highways to tourist destinations such as Galle, making journeys quicker and less stressful, and multi-centre itineraries more appealing.

Kuoni’s product manager for Sri Lanka, Paul Ingram, says: “Over the past few years we have also seen some major steps forward in Sri Lanka, such as the introduction of Cinnamon Air – domestic flights that make areas such as the north and east coast of the island much more accessible by significantly cutting travel times. It can also be a highlight of a trip as you get a stunning bird’s-eye view of Sri Lanka in very comfortable surroundings.”

Gold Medal also puts the island’s success down to a growing thirst for adventure in the luxury market that Sri Lanka can satisfy – plus its high-end spa product. This can prove an attraction to honeymooners too, another growing segment.

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