Tourism / Transport
Tourism industry in Sri Lanka is growing rapidly. For centuries, Sri Lanka has been a popular place of attraction for foreign travelers. The famous Chinese traveler Fa-Hien arrived in Sri Lanka in the late 4th century. In the twelfth century, Italian explorer Marco Polo claimed that Sri Lanka to be the best island of its size in the world. In view of its fascinating scenic beauty and rich cultural heritage, Sri Lanka has been held among the foreign travelers continues up to the present as a one of best tourist destinations in the world.
In 2012, post office worldwide holiday costs barometer named Sri Lanka as the best valued destination for holidays and also in 2013 the popular travel guide book Lonely Planet named Sri Lanka as the best travel destination for 2013. According to the Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report 2015 Sri Lanka is at 63 out of 141 countries.
The tourism attractions are classifiable into natural and anthropogenic. Natural attractions include places of nature spots, flora and fauna, and places with a pleasant climate. Geotourism sites may also be included for this category. Anthropogenic attractions include archaeological and cultural attractions, historical and religion sites, performing arts and folklore, handicrafts and artefacts.
Despite its small size, Sri Lanka possess high level of biodiversity and wildlife resources and it is rated among the 34 Biodiversity hotspots in the world. From flora to fauna, a lot of species are indigenous to Sri Lanka. That has made the island as a country with highest rates of biological endemism in the world.
In Sri Lanka 13% of its land surface has been designated as Wildlife Protected Areas (WLPAs) which at present exceeds a total area of 8500 km2. Approximately 7% of the area are comprised with National Parks, the areas allowed for the public to see and study wildlife. Hence that Sri Lanka's National Parks have been become popular tourist destinations in the country.
Sri Lanka possess nearly 1600 km coastlines with popular tropical beaches among both local and foreign tourists. Most of the coastlines of the country are studded with varying coastal features such as bays, lagoons, sandbanks, and rocky headlands. Marine recreation activities, such as sea bathing and swimming, surfing, boating, snorkelling, deep-sea fishing, underwater photography, and scuba diving, can be seen at most of these beaches and related resort areas. Beaches at Tangalle, Beruwala, Mirissa, Bentota, Unawatuna Arugam Bay, Pasikudah, Uppuveli and Negombo are considered as famous tourist beaches in the country.
The country has six botanical gardens and four Zoological gardens. The botanical gardens are maintained by the Department of National Botanical Gardens. and the zoological gardens are maintained by the Department of National Zoological Gardens. The gardens have become attractive places among local and foreign visitors.
Sri Lanka is well known for its rich Buddhist culture as well as other religions. Being a religious country, Sri Lanka has many places with religious and historic significance, which attracts tourists from all over the world. Anuradhapura, Temple of the Tooth, Sri Pada, Shrine of Our Lady of Madhu and Kataragama, are few of famous religious sites in the island that attract a large number of tourists.
The foot Pilgrimage called Pada Yatra, which is one of the Sri Lanka's oldest traditions, has been practiced for centuries, where the local people from Jaffna come along the East Coast to Kataragama shrine.
Sports tourism is defined as either people been involved, observing or participating in a particular sporting event for leisure. Sri Lanka is also a destination for some of sports such as Cricket, Rugby, Golf and Surfing. Except the Cricket, the contribution to the tourism sector from other sports are still in very low level. Apart the main stream sports events, adventure sports are also included as a part of the sports tourism. Trekking, Hiking, Diving, Rock Climbing, Deep Sea Fishing, Whale watching and Hot air ballooning are some of the adventure sports those can be found in Sri Lanka.
Sri Lanka has an extensive road network for inland transportation. With more than 100,000 km of paved roads, it has one of the highest road densities in the world (1.5 km of paved roads per every 1sq.km. of land). E-grade highways are the latest addition to Sri Lanka's road network. These are access-controlled, high-mobility roads with permitted speeds up to 100 km/h. These highways connect local communities together, by-passing busy and congested town centers.
A and B grade roads are national (arterial) highways administered by Road Development Authority. C and D grade roads are provincial roads coming under the purview of the Provincial Road Development Authority of the respective province. The other roads are local roads falling under local government authorities.
The rail network of Sri Lanka consists of main lines, coastal lines, and up-country lines. In addition, air- and water-based transportation modalities augment the inland transport of the country.
Tourist Visit Visa
Please visit http://www.eta.gov.lk
How can I renew my tourist visa? Every bona-fide tourist who enters Sri Lanka within the period of the landing permit granted by the Immigration officials at the port of entry can apply for a visa extension before the expiry of the visa. Two (02) months extension beyond 30 days shall be granted at the Department of Immigration Emigration (Head Office) . However further extension shall only be considered with valid reasons. This restriction will not be applicable to Ex-Sri Lankans.
Where can I get a tourist visa renewal Application Form ?
Head office of the Department of Immigration & Emigration, Colombo. Download printable versions of the Application Forms here What are the other conditions applicable to renewal of my tourist visa ? Your intended stay in Sri Lanka should end at least two months before the expiry date of your travel document.
How can I renew my Business Purpose Visa ? Applications for the extension of all visas should be made to the Department of Immigration and Emigration Head Office.
Where can I get a Business Purpose Visa renewal application form ?
Head office of the Department of Immigration & Emigration, Colombo. Download printable versions of the Application Forms here What are the other conditions applicable to renewal of my Business Purpose Visa ? In order to extend your visa necessary documentary proof has to be submitted by the relevant Sri Lankan Company/ Agency / Institution etc.. Your intended stay in Sri Lanka should end at least two months before the expiry date of your travel document.