Sri Lanka post COVID.
Sri Lanka, a little island distant from the 'so called' developed world, can finally see some light at the end of the tunnel, and what a long tunnel is has been.
Someone once said that Sri Lanka is a Land of Potential. It is an island of full of natural resources such as minerals and gems, amazing landscapes, an abundance of wildlife, biodiversity and the friendliest people you will ever meet. Despite 25 years of civil war, political unrest, extremist terror attacks and now COVID, Sri Lanka has become known for tourism, its spices, tea, garments and more recently, software development. However, these industries have struggled to reach their potential.
Sri Lanka has always been in the middle of a geopolitical war between India, China and the West due to its location and position in a key trade route. The involvement and attempts to disrupt Sri Lanka's political system from these nations has been clear for everyone to see. Combine this with an economic disaster due to COVID and corruption that seems to be deeply inherited, it is a recipe for disaster. It is a complex and quite frankly, a depressing issue which we will not get into here. Instead, lets focus on the positives and what the future could look like for Sri Lanka. With the end of the pandemic now in sight, it is time for Sri Lanka to come out of the darkness, for good.
We cannot tell you the number of times we have heard our guests say 'Wow you have such a stunning country' with some even wanting to buy a house after only being in here for a few days. It is incredible to hear how so many tourists love this country. Yet, Sri Lanka somehow ends up in turmoil every few years. The good news? Sri lanka has not lost its beauty and its people are still smiling despite all the hardships. Their resilience is quite incredible.
If the last 2 years have reminded us of anything, it is that nature is the essence of our existence. Nature is showing us the consequences of hundreds of years of abuse and destruction of our planet and the results are unforgiving.
Sri Lanka is blessed with incredible biodiversity and your mind quickly forgets the impacts of global climate change. Whether you travel by train, Tuk Tuk, Bus or Car you will be amazed at amount of greenery. At Polwaththa, you will see a variety of birds, giant squirrels, deer, monkeys, spice and native forest trees - a true biodiversity hotspot. Sri Lanka is blessed with an abundance of forests like these and if managed sustainably could attract millions of travellers. The demand for responsible and nature based travel is at the highest its ever been and will continue to grow. Does this mean that we need to build hotels and cut roads into these forests? No. It means that we need to utilise these forests in a sustainable way with minimal impact on biodiversity. At Polwaththa, we place our local community at the heart of our operations - we constantly consult, discuss and educate each other. It helps us find a balance between everything we do as a business which is to uplift the community and protect the environment. We truly believe that this is the model for future tourism businesses, especially in Sri Lanka where biodiversity and Sri Lanka's people should be the focus. It is what the Sri Lankan people deserve.
Sri Lanka's incredible nature is not limited to central Sri Lanka. In fact, wildlife, historic landmarks and beautiful beaches can be found all over the island with many still untouched. Many of the country's national parks are home to wild elephants, leopard, sloth bears, crocodiles and over 30 endemic birds. The surrounding coastal areas offer incredible marine wildlife including blue whales and dolphins, and picture perfect spots for diving, snorkelling and surfing which has attracted some of the world's best surfers. Add a few of the island's heritage sites such as Sigiriya and Galle Fort, gorgeous train journeys, delicious curries and heart-warming people and you are looking at a perfect holiday.
In terms of Sri Lanka as a holiday destination, it has all the ingredients to become one of the top destinations in the world, not only for a holiday but for life as a whole. We hope that as the globe recovers from the pandemic, Sri Lanka can finally bring everyone together to build a nation that shows it true potential. The country's people have suffered long enough and it is time to show Sri Lanka to the world.