Tourist arrivals from Australia in August had increased by 38% to 8,239 in comparison to a year earlier. Arrivals in the first eight months were 70,010 whilst in the entirety of 2017, the figure was 81,281, up by 9%.
Following is the full text of the Daily Mail article.
A new paradise island has cropped up as Australia’s favourite holiday destination.
For decades, Bali and Thailand have remained firm favourites for Australians looking to escape for a quick and cheap overseas holiday.
But Sri Lanka, a pristine island nation floating off the southern tip of India, has experienced a rapid growth in tourism from Australians in the last year alone. With perfect white sand beaches, lush tropical forests, and wildlife safaris considered ‘the best outside of Africa’, it’s not hard to see why travellers are choosing to ignore tradition and fly almost 7,000km away for a holiday.
Of the top 10 nations that visited Sri Lanka during August this year, the number of Australian visitors has increased more than any other country since last year.
In August 2017, 5,959 Australians arrived on the tear-drop shaped island, but this number increased by 38.3% for the same period this year with figures hitting 8,239.
And while Sri Lanka is getting global acclaim as a holiday hotspot, it remains a virtually untouched paradise with a real local charm.
“It’s easy to be cautious when travelling,” said Kirstie McCroskrie in a blog post.
“But when locals come up and start asking you where you’re from and where you’re travelling to, nine times out of 10 it’s out of genuine interest and politeness, rather than them trying to scam or sell you something.”
Australians visiting Sri Lanka will need a visa to enter the country, costing around $ 35 for a 30-day trip.
And if you’re wondering when the best time to visit is then it’s worth noting that the country – despite its small size – has two monsoon seasons.
The more severe ‘yala’ monsoon affects the south and west of Sri Lanka between April and September, while the ‘maha’ monsoon hits the east and north side of the island between November and March.
Sri Lanka boasts many beautiful beaches, but some of the most notable include Arugam Bay in the country’s far east, Bentota in the southeast, and the hidden Hiriketiya Bay near Dickwella Beach at the southern tip.
Trains are picturesque but “notoriously late”, according to Escape magazine, so getting around the country is best done by tuk-tuk.
Much like their Thai cousins, tuk-tuk travel is not for the faint-hearted, but remains a convenient way to hop from place to place with costs starting at approximately Rs. 40-60 per kilometre.
Australians who make the trip to Sri Lanka say it reminds them of Bali 30 years ago; with less crowds, kinder locals and untouched beach breaks.
Perhaps the biggest difference between Bali and Thailand compared to Sri Lanka is the nightlife, with McCroskrie noting that “it’s not a party place”.
“Excessive public drunkenness is pretty rare and disapproved of, and the nightlife is pretty subdued – even in larger towns and cities,” she said.
“Of course, there are pockets of coastal and areas of cities like Colombo where you’ll find backpacker-style parties – just don’t go expecting Full Moon-style excess.”