Beyond Beaches

Surviving through two decades of fluctuating fortunes, tourism is now moving to giddier heights of the big spenders and a niche of expensive boutique hotels.

With war fears somewhat allayed, analysts expect an annual 20 percent growth rate for tourism over the next five years if the ceasefire holds.rn

rnIn the first year of the ceasefire itself, arrivals grew 16.7 percent to 393,000 tourists, and have been on the way up ever since, a sector report by DFCC Bank says.rn

rnThe mix of local tourism is now on the up-scale, moving toward high spending business travellers, and a niche but growing market for boutique hotels. rn

rnldblquote Sri Lankan policy makers are firmly committed to breaking away from the beach centric low value trap created by the civil conflict in the North East during the period 1983 to 2001
dblquote , the report said.rn

rnArrivals fluctuated during the whole conflict between a low 182,000 high in 1987 to a high 436,000 tourists in 1999, settling in the in between at an aver