Sri Lanka is the best place to visit in the world because we have peace and security. We have hotels around the country and infrastructure development is happening at a rapid scale. Tourism should benefit all the people in the country. It should not be confined to the people or businesses in the hospitality industry, the benefits of tourism have to be felt by the community and trickle down to the grass-root level. That is why we are very keen to see that tourists travel around the country.
We want tourists to move from place to place in Sri Lanka. We are developing a concept called beyond beaches, where we want tourists to experience more than the beach. Sri Lanka has the best wildlife, nature, historical and cultural sites. For example, if we look at our hill country, it is beautiful with rolling hills, tea plantations, and waterfalls. There is so much that we can offer. Tourism is an industry that we need to look at in a more focused manner so that the entire country benefits.
We hope to encourage the homestay concept because you invest in your home, not as a business per se. A small house can be developed further. We are looking at ways to market small properties online in order to support the communities. The people in the area will have a livelihood because they will provide transport, fresh ingredients for the meals, and other support services. They will be able to provide a very ‘insider’ experience to their guests. This will be a very sustainable venture.
Sustainability is very important for the industry. That is the very reason we promote the entire country to tourists.