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Sri Lanka Travel in 2020: Whats Changing

Updated: Jan 30, 2020

Sri Lanka has seen a lot of changes in the travel and tourism trade in the last year. Being victim to a devastating terrorist attack brought many challenges to the small island in revising its tourist industry despite having the prestigious status of “#1 in Best in Travel 2019” by Lonely Planet.

Here are some interesting changes that will make it even easier and more convenient to travel in and around Sri Lanka in 2020.

New Airport Openings

Sri Lanka's newest international airport the Jaffna International Airport in the Northern Province was opened to the public on October 17 2019. Following this there are plans to open the Batticaloa airport as an international airport and further develop the Mattala airport.

Jaffna International Airport via

Newly Opened Highways

While Sri Lanka was stagnant with just two key highways, in the next 5 years there hopes to be development to create fast access to main cities like Kandy, Galle and Hambantota. Furthermore more connection is being brought into the city of Colombo. Some key highway developments are as follows;

  • Colombo - Kandy Highway

  • Southern Expressway highway Extension from Matara to Hambantota

  • Katunayake Expressway Extension to Fort and Exists to Connect to Southern Expressway

New Train Lines and Bus Services

Train travel is still one of the fastest and cost effective modes in the country. Tourists travelling to Sri Lanka are provided special coaches in intercity and express trains. Most travellers enjoy the scenic tours to the hill countries and back. A few notable improvements in the railway lines include;

  • Construction of Railway Line from Marara to Kataragama

  • Construction of Southern Railway Circle

  • Construction of Railway Line from Kurunegala to Habarana

Train Travel to Kandy

New Hotels and Mixed Development Projects in 2020

Some notable hotel and mixed development projects in 2020 include;

Hilton Yala Resort Illustration by Hilton Hotels
Hilton Yala Resort Illustration by Hilton Hotels

Other properties with mentions of being opened this year include;

  • The Viceroy House in Pasyala

  • Haritha Villa & Spa in Hikkaduwa near Galle.

  • The 26-suite Jetwing Kandy Gallery

Other new changes which are not necessarily improvements but necessary still include;

Visa Free Travel Extended till 30th April 2020 In late 2019 Sri Lanka granted on arrival Visa for travellers from over 20 countries including the EU region, Australia, UK, India, China, and USA. This was mainly to enhance the tourist numbers and was set till the end of Jan 2020, but now has been extended.

Stricter Security Checks at Airports and Hotels: This was initiated after the bomb attacks and is likely to be continued for a while with all tourists’ and locals safety in mind.


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