After 30 Years of Violence, Northern Sri Lanka is Opening Up to Tourism

16 April 2012

In a recent article on Financial Times, author Carole Cadwalladr details her recent trip to Sri Lanka, which is beginning to re-emerge as a tourist destination after 30 years of political violence. Cadwalladr also makes the case for visiting destinations that are recovering from disaster and duress as a way to support that recovery while having an authentic and meaningful travel experience:

But there’s an argument that it should be the government that is punished and not the people. And if you share my belief that tourism is largely a force for good, re-balancing global economics, stimulating investment and helping rebuild communities, then, as I discovered in Lebanon in the early 1990s and Sarajevo a few years later, the aftermath of war is in some ways the best time to go.

I don’t want to be flippant – I can’t be after seeing Channel 4’s footage of executed children – but going to the war-affected parts of the country, in the north and east, rather than swigging cocktails with the elephants-and-sunsets brigade in the south, seems somehow more appropriate. Locals are delighted to see you, there is a dearth of other tourists, and when I look up one of our first destinations – Kalpitiya – in the index of the Lonely Planet guide, I have a moment of quiet joy when I discover it’s not actually there. It’s that rarest of all rare things: a place where Lonely Planet has yet to tread.

To learn more about what Sri Lanka has to offer, read the rest of Cadwalladr's article