In a breath of fresh air for the tourist industry of Sri Lanka, the world famous Condé Nast Traveler announced their annual list of the best countries to visit, and the island nation managed to place high up on the list at 4. The website is the online version of the renowned luxury and lifestyle magazine published by Condé Nast, holding a lot of prestige and weight. The list itself goes live each year to international acclaim, as it rounds up the most sought after and travelled to countries in the world, a badge of honour for all included. The list, titled “The Best Countries in the World: 2019 Readers’ Choice Awards” has the added distinction of being entirely voted on by readers of Condé Nast Traveler. This ensures that the selections were made by experienced travellers, thus reflecting the authenticity of the list itself. This added quality of the CN Traveler awards puts the freedom of choice in the hands of people who have visited many countries and are well versed in the many factors that figure in debating how a country is chosen. The list is the 32nd annual Readers’ Choice Awards survey and over 600,000 registered voters cast their opinion on what their favourite countries to visit in the entire world were. A spot on this list is good news for the country, as Sri Lanka hotels will gear up for the influx of visitors that is sure to result from the publicity. To be placed at number 4 is indeed a feat to be celebrated, as it places the country in the top 5, a veritable place to be. The readers of CN Traveler have thus spoken – and have named Sri Lanka a country to watch out for in the coming years.
The list opened with Croatia, and included a diverse number of countries from all corners all the globe including Tanzania and Peru, with Indonesia topping off the list with honours. The variety of countries from all continents speaks to the multiplicity of experiences that the readers of CN surely have, and to be placed not just beside but above the likes of New Zealand, Italy and Ireland, old favourites that are a melting pot of culture, history and nature, is a tribute to the island’s beauty indeed. The author of the article acknowledged the deadly attacks by terrorists early on in the year of 2019, which in addition to shaking the country and the world also signalled a period of stagnancy for Sri Lanka as an escapist destination for travellers. The attacks had a devastating effect on the country’s economy, and drove the tourism industry into a corner. Many locals whose livelihoods were based in tourism had a hard time of it especially, with many taking pay cuts or even losing their jobs. As a result, many measures were taken by the government to coax people back to the peaceful isle, including offering myriads of discounts as well as free travel visas. Some taxes were relaxed, and visa free entry was offered to a number of countries. As for discounts, hotels and resorts around the island were slashing their fees by more than 50%, and offered packages to draw people to their establishments lest their rooms go empty. These measures have started to work, as a few months later the equilibrium of visitors coming into the country has greatly improved.
The article also emphasised that as a destination, Sri Lanka was not one to be missed, citing many of the exciting places to visit in Sri Lanka. Calling attention to the many holy sites scattered around the island, most located in idyllic natural settings, as well as the miles of ocean juxtaposed with the verdant green tea estates that stud the mountains, the article encouraged that the country was the ideal playground for those who wanted to explore with minimum travel time. Small but with acres of unique attractions, Sri Lanka definitely deserved its spot on this coveted list. With reams of buildings and architecture that signals back to ancient times as well as colonial history, the country also is home to no less than 8 UNESCO World Heritage sites. Finally, Condé Nast Traveler pointed out that the island has recently had a number of high end wellness resorts and spas which encouraged holistic holidays, and promised rest and relaxation in the most perfect of settings. Sri Lanka is thus getting back on its feet and will be a contender in the tourist industry again soon.