In the twelfth century, the explorer Marco Polo wrote that Sri Lanka was the finest island in the whole world. For centuries it had been a tourism destination, particularly for European travelers. Recently, the Sri Lankan Civil War that spanned over 25 years and ended in 2009 has had a negative impact on tourism and the growth of the industry stagnated, however following this era a resurgence in Sri Lanka as a tourist destination has been evident. In 2012, post office worldwide holiday costs barometer named Sri Lanka as the best valued destination for holidays. Tourist arrivals to Sri Lanka exceeded 1.5million in 2014.
The prestigious New York Times has named Sri Lanka as one of the top 10 destinations to visit in 2012. Plans are underway by the Government of Sri Lanka to increase this number to 2 million by the year 2016. Several leading international hotel chains are present in Sri Lanka, together with a number of locally owned hotels, offering visitors a wide choice of accommodation ranging from the luxurious to Spartan, as well as ‘Home Stays’ at Sri Lankan homes, which will help you gain a better understanding of local culture, traditions and lifestyles. Many top-notch international chains and have signed deals and are in the process of building their properties, thereby increasing the number of rooms available. Casinos and other tourism related projects are coming up fast.