The last time I visited Sri Lanka was 15 years ago before the Tsunami and when the civil war was threatening to ruin tourism. Many things have changed. To start with the Tsunami although a devastating event did open up many lines of altruistic development in the country. People visited and learned what a beautiful people the Sri Lankans are, investment has flooded in and importantly time is a great healer. The end of the civil war also meant that less money and effort was being expended on weopons and death. So what did I find?
The first clear difference is that when arriving at the main airport near Colombo, Bandaranaike International Airport, there are no soldiers lining the avenues that form the entance and exit. The second difference is that there are now 2 international airports. A new one has been built down south at Hambantota.
Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport (MRIA) (also known as the Hambantota International Airport) is an international airport serving the city of Hambantota in southeast Sri Lanka.Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport is Sri Lanka’s second international airport, after Bandaranaike International Airport. It serves as the secondary hubs for Sri Lankan Airlines and Mihin Lanka. It is named after the Rajapaksa family. It is also the first greenfield airport in the country.
The next set of changes are that a number of motorways have been built, mainly two lane toll motorways. At the moment they seem a bit random but eventually they will join up and make tranportation far easier. The journey time already from Colombo airport to Galle has been reduced from 4.5 hours to around 2.5 hours. The most noticeable change though relates to the people, they weigh more. There was no evidence of the thin malnourished poverty stricken people whom 15 years ago undertook the menial jobs for almost no wages. They have vanished. There were no requests from children for pens or clothes. The schools clearly have also improved in that computers are now present in some.
This is a country on the ascent, a happy country. The people in general are satisfied with their lot. Tourists are asked not to over tip something that can endanger the local economy. The population in 2012 was 20 million and increasing. The modernisation will continue and now may be the time to visit this beautiful country before westernisation takes over.