Kimarli Fernando, Chairperson, Sri Lanka Tourism – An Interview

In the last few years, Sri Lanka has seen a huge transformation in its tourism industry. The island nation has moved away from being primarily an eco-tourism destination and transformed itself into a high-end tourist hotspot. This change is the result of several players coming together and working towards the same goal: Creating a better quality of service for tourists visiting Sri Lanka. For this to happen, there needs to be cooperation from all stakeholders involved in the industry. In that spirit, we’ve got an interview with Kimarli Fernando, Chairperson of the Sri Lanka Tourism organization, who gave us some insights into their work and where they hope to see things go in the future.

What is Sri Lanka Tourism currently working on?

Sri Lanka Tourism was founded in 2011, after the end of the civil war in Sri Lanka. The organization’s main goal is to increase tourism to Sri Lanka, while also increasing the quality of the tourism industry. This also means working closely with Sri Lankan businesses to improve the standard of service provided to tourists. The organization also works on promoting Sri Lanka through social media to make sure that tourists get accurate information. There are a few projects that Sri Lanka Tourism is currently working on. One of these is the development of eco-friendly resorts and hotels. The organization is trying to reduce the carbon emissions from tourism by working with private companies to build these resorts. This also includes a push for renewable energy in tourism, so that it can be sustainable in the long run. Sri Lanka Tourism is also working on modernizing the tourism industry by digitizing the industry first and then bringing in digital innovations like VR and AR.

The e-visa program for easier travel for tourists

One of the biggest achievements of Sri Lanka Tourism is the e-visa program. This program allows tourists to apply for a visa online and receive the visa in their email. With the e-visa system, tourists do not have to visit the Sri Lankan embassy and wait there in person. This program has made the visa process much easier and has also reduced the time it takes to receive a visa. A visa to Sri Lanka used to take 10-15 days to get approved, but now, with the e-visa program, it is possible to get one in as little as 3 hours. This program has helped Sri Lanka Tourism reach a larger audience. With the e-visa system in place, tourists don’t need to take time off from work to visit the embassy. Now, people from all over the world can visit Sri Lanka at their convenience.

Upcoming projects and changes you’re most excited about

Sri Lanka Tourism has been working on a project called the ‘Discovery Path’ for a few years now. This project is aimed at creating trails for tourists in Sri Lanka that are informative and also eco-friendly. The project is expected to be completed by 2021. The Discovery Path is a trail that leads from the South to the North of Sri Lanka. It takes tourists through the culture and heritage of Sri Lanka, while also providing information on the environment, biodiversity, and wildlife of the country. Another project Sri Lanka Tourism is working on is the promotion of Sri Lanka as a sports tourism destination. Sri Lanka is home to several tourist-friendly sports like surfing, diving, and golf. This project is aimed at increasing the number of tourists who visit Sri Lanka for sports. Along with this project, Sri Lanka Tourism has also launched Sri Lanka Golf, a golf tourism initiative to make Sri Lanka a top golf destination in the world.

Where do you see the Sri Lanka tourism industry in 5 years?

Currently, Sri Lanka is a niche market for passionate travelers who want to experience a unique destination. In the future, Sri Lanka Tourism would like to see more general tourists visiting the country. These tourists are those who just want to visit an exotic destination and enjoy the culture and heritage of the country. Sri Lanka Tourism would like to see more of these tourists visiting the country so that the income from tourism can benefit more people in the country. The organization also hopes to bring in more younger people as tourists. The average age of a tourist visiting Sri Lanka is currently around 38, but Sri Lanka Tourism would like to see that number drop to around 30. More younger people frequenting Sri Lanka will help the country progress in many ways like bringing in more investment and positively impacting the economy.


Sri Lanka Tourism has come a long way in the last decade. The organization has worked hard to promote the country and make it an attractive destination for tourists from around the world. From the e-visa program to the Discovery Path project, Sri Lanka Tourism has created some novel initiatives that have made a difference in the industry. We can expect to see even more from this organization in the future. Sri Lanka Tourism hopes to become a top destination for tourists from all over the world, while also benefitting the people of Sri Lanka. With the efforts of the organization and the hard work of all the players involved, we can expect to see a Sri Lanka Tourism of the future that will be even more successful.

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