The New York Times Ranks Sri Lanka the No. 1 Destination for Travelers in 2010

Jan 14, 2010, 11:25 ET from Government of Sri Lanka

Recognition Marks an Era of National Peace and Reconciliation, Validates National Stability

WASHINGTON, Jan. 14 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The New York Times chose Sri Lanka as the world's No. 1 place to go in 2010, noting that the end of the terrorist threat last May promises "a more peaceful era for this tear-drop island off India."

The selection at the top of the major newspaper's list of The 31 Places to Go in 2010 is expected to deliver huge benefits for Sri Lankan tourism. "The Sri Lankan government welcomes travelers from around the globe to experience our nation's rich culture and traditions," President Mahinda Rajapaksa stated. "We urge travelers far and wide to come to our shores and see for themselves this gem of the Indian Ocean," the President added.

The New York Times captured the unrivaled natural beauty of Sri Lanka. "The island, with a population of just 20 million, feels like one big tropical zoo: elephants roam freely, water buffaloes idle in paddy fields and monkeys swing from trees. And then there's the pristine coastline …"    

The honor comes at a crucial time for the country as President Mahinda Rajapaksa works to galvanize the nation in a post-war era. In May 2009 the Sri Lankan government defeated the Liberation Tamil Tigers of Eelam (LTTE), a militant group seen as one of the world's most violent terrorist organizations. Since the war's end, the Sri Lankan Government has made efforts to unite all Sri Lankans and usher in an era of peace and reconciliation.

In December 2009 Sri Lanka recognized the fifth anniversary of the 2004 tsunami that devastated the country. The recovery validated the coordinated, aid efforts by Sri Lankans and the international community that helped restore Sri Lanka to its original state of natural splendor.

"This is a testament to our national strength and fortitude. As we continue to move forward past tragedy and violence I am hopeful that others will see Sri Lanka as I do – a beacon of prosperity, a nation of people united by hope, and a place of unrivaled magnificence," President Rajapaksa said.  

This has been distributed by Qorvis Communications, LLC on behalf of the government of Sri Lanka.  More information is available at the United States Department of Justice, Washington, D.C.

SOURCE Government of Sri Lanka