Sri Lanka draws cruise ships after end of war

July 08, 2010 (LBO) – Sri Lanka is once again becoming an attractive destination for cruise ship operators with the end of a 30-year ethnic war, the head of one of the island’s biggest conglomerates said. “Galle will be a very attractive destination to break journey. They would like to have a 3-4 day stop to do repairs as well as sightseeing.” “Now that the war is over we’ll get many cruise vessels which had not been calling Colombo port earlier,” said Mohan Pandithage, chairman of Hayleys, a group with significant shipping business.

“Cruise lines have now started making inquiries,” he told a business forum organised by the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce.

“Cruise lines fix their schedules 2-3 years ahead and some companies are now talking to us to bring Colombo back on their schedule. They are also talking to other companies.”

Colombo was a favourite port of call for cruise ships operating in the Indian Ocean before the ethnic war began in 1983.

The war deterred visits because of the fear of violence as well as high war-risk insurance premiums that had to be paid by ships calling at the island’s ports.

But London underwriters recently removed Sri Lanka from their war-risk listed area,