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Sri Lanka ranked top country for travel in 2019

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Sri Lanka ranked top country for travel in 2019 by Lonely Planet

Improved train services mean it’s easier than ever to explore Sri Lanka but campaigners warn a surge in tourism could ruin its natural beauty

Passenger train crossing the nine arches viaduct near Ella, Sri Lanka.
 Passenger train crossing the nine arches viaduct near Ella, Sri Lanka. Photograph: Alamy

Almost 10 years after the end of its civil war, Sri Lanka has been named the best country in the world to visit in 2019 by Lonely Planet. Better transport links, new hotels and a growing number of activities were cited as the reason the south-Asian island was chosen for the top spot in the guidebook publisher ’s annual Best in Travel awards.

“Already notable to intrepid travellers for its mix of religions and cultures, its timeless temples, its rich and accessible wildlife, its growing surf scene and its people who defy all odds by their welcome and friendliness after decades of civil conflict, this is a country revived,” says Lonely Planet author Ethan Gelber in the Best in Travel 2019 book, published today.

“Unmissable experiences” include wildlife, such as the 300-strong elephant gathering at Minneriya national park, thousand-year old Buddhist monuments, and hiking and train travel through the Hill Country’s tea plantations.

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