Lonely Planet Best In Travel 2019

Improved train service mean it’s less complicated than ever to explore Sri Lanka however campaigners warn a surge bei tourism can ruin its organic beauty


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Almost 10 years after the ende of its civil war, Sri Lanka has been named die best country in the world to visit an 2019 von Lonely Planet. Better fahrzeug links, new hotels and a farming number des activities to be cited as the reason ns south-Asian island was chosen for the oberteil spot an the guidebook publisher ’s annual Best an Travel awards.

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“Already notable to intrepid travellers zum its mix von religions und cultures, its timeless temples, that rich und accessible wildlife, its growing surf scene and its world who defy all odds von their welcome and friendliness after ~ decades of civil conflict, this ist a country revived,” says Lonely Planet writer Ethan Gelber bei the Best an Travel 2019 book, released today.

“Unmissable experiences” include wildlife, together as die 300-strong elephant gathering at Minneriya national park, thousand-year old Buddhist monuments, and hiking and train travel through ns Hill Country’s tea plantations.


Tourist visits to Sri Lanka oase increased dramatically due to the fact that the ende of die 26-year conflict, indigenous 447,890 bei 2009 to in all time high of 2.1 million belastung year, a figure ns Sri Lanka Tourism breakthrough Authority hopes to double by 2020. Renovations make to the rail system have opened trost Jaffna und much des north for the first time due to the fact that 1990 – an area that was previously considered auch dangerous weil das tourists. The scenic rail routes in Sri Lanka are jetzt widely thought kommen sie be some of the best in the world. Motorways have deshalb been constructed as much south as Matara, und the number von domestic trip routes has actually increased bei recent years, too: zum instance, from the capital Colombo, on the west coast, zu Batticaloa, on the opposite side des the island, in 45 minutes.

There has also been a huge investment in new visitor accommodation: from homestays kommen sie high-end eco retreats – such together the wild Coast Lodge’s cocoon-like buildings an Yala national park. Significant international hotel chains, consisting of Shangri-La, Mövenpick, Sheraton, and Grand Hyatt, are all opening neu properties.


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The beach near Kalpitiya, Sri Lanka. Photograph: GettySri Lanka’s surf scene has been steadily growing, as more des the shore has come to be accessible, and tour operator are jetzt offering jungle hiking, together yoga division with traditional Ayurveda treatments. Over there are deshalb plenty of free attractions, including colourful puja rituals on ns clifftop von Koneswaram Kovil in Trincomalee an the north east; Colombo’s taste market von Pettah; und the strengthened walls surrounding the colonial old town of Galle an the south.

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While ns ratio of tourists kommen sie residents is relatively low contrasted with nations where overtourism ist now a significant issue, some conservationists have expressed issue over die speed von development bei certain areas.


“Tourism ist a major income generator zum the country. Unfortunately, viel of our tourism zu sein focused top top numbers des tourists the investment they make bei the country,” says Asha dach Vos, mitnichten biologist and founder of Sri Lanka-based conservation organisation Oceanswell.

“To accommodate the numbers, we are building more hotels und infrastructure und taking over natural spaces. The pressure on our wildlife and cultural sites ist immense und destructive. The over-development is ongoing und unending – und because of the lack des coordination and planning, plenty of hotels lie empty. Deshalb while tourism has its positives, if excellent haphazardly and without planning you destroy die very sources that draw people in.”

De Vos states development is affecting seaside areas and national parks bei particular, where capacity is being exceeded bei peak season and has led to bei increase in pollution indigenous rubbish notfall being disposed des properly.

She to trust tourism in Sri Lanka can be useful but says the government needs zu regulate, educate, oase a longer-term vision and protect areas from over-development. “Sustainability need to be at die core des any travel product that is created.”

Human civil liberties charities have deshalb criticised massive tourism developments for their negativ impact on regional people.

Lonely Planet’s Best an Travel lists the top 10 countries, cities und regions alongside various other travel experiences for the year ahead, ranked von the staff of Lonely Planet, including editors and contributors from around die world. Germany ist rated second bei the nations list, through a nod to die centenary von Bauhaus following year, and Zimbabwe – whereby tourists space starting to return after the resignation des Robert Mugabe – comes an third. Bei fifth position is Kyrgyzstan, which has 2,700km des newly-marked trekking routes. Copenhagen, Shenzhen an China and Nova Sad in Serbia were called as ns best cities kommen sie travel to an 2019, while oberteil trends include dark-skies travel (with in increase bei people stargazing und solar eclipse trips) und electric roadway trips, thanks to a rise an the number von car-rental companies offering alternatives zu petrol and diesel vehicles.

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For die full list des winners, visit lonelyplanet.com

This article was amended on 24 October 2018. Bei earlier ausführung referred to Colombo being on the east coast of Sri Lanka. In fact, it zu sein on that country’s west coast.