The Mattala airport, when fully operational (the government is negotiating with budget airlines at this moment), will permanently alter the nature of tourism in South Asia, says the prestigious China Briefing business intelligence magazine published in Hong Kong.
The Hambantota airport cuts 30 minutes off flight times into Sri Lanka from elsewhere in Asia, and coupled with the new expressways, reduces the travelling time to reach Sri Lanka’s gorgeous southern beaches to under an hour; accessing them from Colombo, even with the highways, is a four-five hour journey.
It is no wonder that high-end hotel chains and resorts have been buying up vast swathes of land along Sri Lanka’s southeast coast. Within the next five years, Sri Lanka will become one of Asia’s premium tourist destinations. Many of them will of course be Chinese, says China Briefing, citing the Mattala airport as the pivot upon which Sri Lanka will become the premier tourism destination in the region.
Chris Devonshire-Ellis in his latest article in China Briefing, writes about the Chinese Premier’s impending visit to Sri Lanka. The op ed states: “China has turned to a friendly Sri Lanka for assistance. The result has been the redevelopment of Sri Lanka’s main port in Colombo, which China not only financed, but also owns the majority stake in.
“The port facilities are mainly concentrated on the transshipment, processing and repacking of Indian products destined for the China market. It is a little observed fact that as China’s population ages, they will continue to need low cost, reasonable quality consumer products, and in the face of increasing production costs in China, sourcing from India has become vital to the sustained prosperity of the Middle Kingdom. “The Colombo Port’s primary role is to facilitate this future bilateral trade demographic. China has been involved in a mass infrastructure development project throughout the country. This is something that the Indian Government would be wise to consider as they mull China’s offer to pay for India’s own infrastructure development. Sri Lanka now has a national highway system, much of which is completed, and a second international airport at Hambantota in the country’s southeast, together with another massive port facility.”