The initial phase of the Heritage Trails project in Sri Lanka has been completed. With support from the EU and USAID, among others, a network of different walking trails is being set up in Sri Lanka, starting with a long-distance trail of more than 300 kilometres through the hills of the island. This will allow visitors to take multi-day hikes through Sri Lanka‘s unique environment and enjoy the local culture.
2022 is the ‘Visit Sri Lanka Year‘
Like other popular tourist destinations, Sri Lanka has also suffered badly from the COVID-19 pandemic. The number of international travellers visiting the country since 2020 has fallen sharply compared to previous years. Yet the Sri Lankan government is optimistic, because it is now possible again to travel to the country with a Sri Lanka visa. Almost half of the 200,000 tourists Sri Lanka received in 2021 travelled to the country in the month of December, so there is a clear growth to be noted.
The country has generally come through the coronavirus crisis well and has recently received the Safe Travels stamp from the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC). This stamp indicates that it is again safe to travel to the country, even in times of COVID-19. Travellers can also apply for a visa for Sri Lanka again. This can be done easily via the online application form for the ETA Sri Lanka. This visa allows travellers to travel freely through Sri Lanka for 30 days.
The country‘s tourism minister has designated 2022 as the ‘Visit Sri Lanka Year‘. This shows that the country wants to welcome tourists again and further invest in improving the visitor experience. Among other things, the government wants to invest in a new app that will make it easier for visitors to find and book hotels, attractions and sights. In this way, the country hopes to welcome more than 1 million international travellers again by 2022, a big step towards the recovery of the tourism sector.
The Heritage Trails project
Sri Lanka is currently building a network of walking trails across the island, starting with a 300 kilometre trail through the hills of the island. This first trail was opened in early February. The various trails should enable visitors to discover more aspects of the island. In addition, through this project, the Sri Lankan government is trying to build a bridge between tourism, local culture and the history of the surrounding communities. In particular, small businesses along the trail are supported in setting up tourist activities and facilities.
Funding by the EU and USAID
The Heritage Trails project is part of the development cooperation between the European Union, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Government of Sri Lanka.The EU is making £4.8 million available for the development of sustainable, authentic and inclusive forms of tourism, including the Heritage Trails project. This project will offer visitors the opportunity to explore Sri Lanka on (multi-day) hikes. In this way, smaller towns and villages along these trails, which otherwise attract few visitors, can also benefit from tourism.
Volgens de minister van toerisme in Sri Lanka, Prasanna Ranatunga, zijn bijna 50% van alle toeristen die Sri Lanka bezoeken afkomstig uit de EU. Hij zegt blij te zijn met de steun die het land van de EU en de VS ontvangt en heeft er vertrouwen in dat dit soort projecten bij zullen dragen aan de duurzame ontwikkeling van het toerisme in Sri Lanka.
Apply for your Sri Lanka visa
It is again possible to travel safely to Sri Lanka. Remember to apply for the Sri Lanka visa before departure. The visa can easily be applied for online within a few minutes. It is therefore not necessary to visit an embassy.