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Sri Lanka holidays boom will not take tourism away from Maldives

Now that the 25-year-long civil war has come to an end, more travellers are booking their Sri Lanka holidays and as a result many large hotel and resort chains are looking to invest into tourism projects on the beautiful Indian Ocean island.

Sri Lanka holidays boom will not take tourism away from Maldives

The increase in travellers taking Sri Lanka holidays has led to a rise in tourism investment interest from large hotel and resort chains. Since the end of the island's decades-long civil war in 2009 the island has seen a significant increase in travellers visiting the region and the tourism industry is beginning to boom.

Despite the welcomed increase in travellers booking Sri Lanka holidays, many have questioned whether this will have an impact on tourism in the Maldives, Sri Lanka's friendly neighbour.

Former President of Tourist Hotels Association of Sri Lanka, and the current Project Director/Consultant at the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce, Srilal Miththapala, believes that Sri Lanka and the Maldives are not competing products.

"It is a misconception to think that Sri Lanka and Maldives will be competing in the tourism industry as both countries offer different products. The Maldives islands and beaches are unique and it draws tourists who like that kind of an environment and in Sri Lanka we cater to a different genre of tourists," he explained.

"Even though both Sri Lanka and Maldives offers beautiful beaches they are both different in so many ways. Therefore the growth and development in Sri Lankan tourism could not have an impact in the Maldivian tourism sector," he added.

Resort chains including Indigo and Movenpick are looking to invest in Sri Lanka hotels and the Hong Kong based Shangri-La have already signed an agreement with the Sri Lankan government to acquire six acres of government land in Colombo to build a luxury new hotel complex. Further plans for the company include a second 300-key city resort situated on 100 acres of land on the south coast of Sri Lanka in Hambanthota, and scheduled to open in 2013.

The President of the Association of Small and Medium Enterprises in Tourism, Siri De Silva believes that there is plenty of room in the industry for both Sri Lanka and Maldives hotels.

"Maldives is a place where tourists go to relax, enjoy the blue murky water, go diving and enjoy the aquatic life the islands have to offer. In Sri Lanka the beaches are very different to Maldives. In most cases, tourists spend a few days in Maldives and then they visit Sri Lanka because it has many different things to offer. This has been the situation in the past and with the present development projects coming up in Sri Lanka there is no way the Maldivian tourism industry could get affected," he explained.

"I think the Sri Lankan government and the Maldivian government should work together to promote tourism in both countries. This will be very beneficial for both countries and will strengthen the tourism industry in the region," he added.

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