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The Galle Face Hotel is a Colombo landmark. Diana Mayfield / Getty Images
The Galle Face Hotel is a Colombo landmark. Diana Mayfield / Getty Images

Sri Lanka on the what's hot list of tourists

The Life: Tourists have rediscovered Sri Lanka and for the past few years and has been touted as one of the hottest destinations.

The Sri Lankan economy has benefited no end since a 26-year insurgency ended in 2009. Growth exceeded 8 per cent in 2010 and 2011, up from 5 per cent per year on average during the civil war. Tourists have rediscovered the country and for the past few years Sri Lanka has been touted as one of the hottest destinations.

Key facts about Colombo, the country's capital:

Airlines: Emirates Airline, Etihad Airways, FlyDubai and Sri Lankan Airlines connect Abu Dhabi and Dubai to Colombo.

Airport: Bandaranaike International Airport, located 35km north of Colombo at Katunayake, is the main airport serving the capital and is being upgraded to increase its passenger and cargo handling capacities. This includes a runway able to accommodate the A380.

An airport hotel: Jetwing Beach at Negombo. Styled by Sri Lanka's famous architect Geoffrey Bawa, the hotel offers a luxurious retreat just 20 minutes from the airport. Rates start from about Dh1,000 a night.

A downtown hotel: Founded in 1864, the Galle Face Hotel is considered the oldest hotel west of the Suez. Room rates start from about Dh475 a night.

Cost of cab from airport to city centre: 2,820 Sri Lankan rupees, or 3,102 rupees with AC, according to the airport's website.

A conference centre: The Bandaranaike Memorial International Conference Hall has the distinction of being the very first purpose-built convention centre in Asia.

A power restaurant: The Gallery Cafe has fusion cuisine and local favourites, at 2 Alfred House Road.

Visa: Multiple entry business visa costs $30.

Currency/conversion rate: 100 Sri Lanka rupees = Dh2.89.

Main businesses: The government is trying to make the economy more knowledge-based and turn the country into a hub within Asia for aviation, commerce, energy and seafaring. Sri Lanka was the world's top tea exporter until 2006. The government last year vowed to regain the No. 1 spot.

Things to do at night: The Cricket Club is a must for fans who will appreciate the memorabilia - signs, photos, souvenirs and signed clothing - scattered throughout the colonial villa.

 

lgutcher@thenational.ae

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