Sri Lanka tourism to skyrocket this year

Tourism is a major industry in Sri Lanka and is set to grow even more in the coming years. Last month, tourist arrivals to the country were up by 46 percent on the same period last year, and – fuelled by the recent end of the island's civil war – a total of 650,000 people visited in 2010. So what can visitors during the year look forward to in the country Lonely Planet described as the "jewel of the Indian Ocean" in its "top ten places to visit in 2011"?

Watch and play. Sri Lanka has a vibrant sporting culture and is the host country of the ICC Cricket World Cup throughout February and March. During the rest of the year, it is a well-known golfing destination and popular with watersports fans thanks to its pristine beaches and backwaters.

Heal. Legend has it that Ayurveda was imported to Sri Lanka in the 6th century BC, and it has since evolved to include some indigenous treatments. At the Mihintale mountain, visitors can see the ruins of what many believe to be the world's first hospital.

Sleep in the jungle. Ecotourism is big business in Sri Lanka, and it's only going to get bigger. Already, guests can lay their heads in the middle of the jungle, disturbed only by the odd passing elephant. 

Source: The Independent