By Radhika Wijesekera –
Colombo, SRI LANKA (January 18, 2024) – In a new report published by Forbes magazine, the tiny island nation of Sri Lanka has been ranked as the fourth most popular destination for solo travellers for 2024, ahead of Jordan, Thailand and Indonesia.
The country’s tourism sector has made a speedy comeback, after suffering major setbacks during the Covid pandemic in 2020 and 2021, and the political unrest and economic collapse that followed in 2022.
According to Forbes, Sri Lanka: “gives visitors a chance to experience a major travel trend: slow travel by train. After a tumultuous few years, Sri Lanka has made a big comeback, and its iconic upcountry train routes are a major part of its appeal. With more U.S. travellers adding to an uptick in interest from U.K. customers this year, 2024 will be the moment when it all comes together and Sri Lanka once again rules the travel charts for slow, immersive adventure.”
The ranking is a result of a recent survey carried out by Flash Pack, a travel firm that curates small group adventures for solo travellers in their 30s, 40s and 50s.
Japan has topped the table as the most popular solo travel destination for this year, followed by Argentina, Egypt and Sri Lanka. Colombia, Equador & the Galapagos Islands, Jordon, Thailand, the Phillipines and Bali & the Gili Islands complete the top 10 list.
Sri Lanka’s iconic upcountry train routes, including the iconic, colonial-era nine arches viaduct bridge in Demodara on the Badulla railway line, contributes to its travel resurgence where Forbes predicts 2024 to be the year that the country will once again dominate the travel charts.
Meanwhile, Sri Lanka’s commercial capital, Colombo has been listed as the world’s seventh best cultural destination for tourism by TripAdvisor. Wetland flora and fauna exists in harmony with the hustle and bustle of a vibrant city which is home to colonial architecture and historical landmarks alongside modern hotels, shopping malls and parks. Colombo occupies the seventh spot along with Havana (Cuba), Fes (Morocco), Cusco (Peru), Agra (India), Athens (Greece), Dublin (Ireland), Hue (Vietnam), Edinburgh (Scotland) and Tokyo (Japan) within the top 10 most popular cities for cultural value for 2024.
Sri Lanka recorded more than 1.4 million tourist arrivals in 2023, with an estimated revenue of $ 2.1 billion, which was an 80% increase in revenue compared to the previous year. The industry is targeting an excess of 2.3 million tourist arrivals for 2024, with an anticipated revenue earning of $ 4.5 billion, and with the Forbes and TripAdvisor rankings on Sri Lanka’s popularity as an attractive travel destination, the island nation remains confident of reaching these goals.
Picture by Radhika Wijesekera