Dark Clouds over the Sunshine Paradise

Tourism & Human Rights in Sri Lanka

More than 1.5 million tourists travelled to Sri Lanka in 2014. The British were the largest Western European tourist group, with 144,168 visitors, followed by the Germans with 102,977 tourists. With more than 20,000 visitors, the Swiss made up the fifth largest tourist group from Western Europe. While the Sri Lankan government has spread the image of a country that has returned to normality, the reality appears much more disturbing.

The STP report looks at whether, and to what extent, human rights abuses relating to tourism development have taken place in the three newly developed tourist regions of Kuchchaveli, Passikudah and Kalpitiya, as well as the degree to which the local population can actually profit from the tourism boom. The results are sobering: in these regions, hotels and resorts block fishermen’s access to the sea, which pose a major threat to the economic livelihoods of entire families. There have been instances of land grabbing and only a small section of the local population is able make a living through tourism.Moreover, the military is increasingly focusing its budget on tourism with the army, navy and air force opening hotels all over the country and increasingly offering tourist activities. The provision of tourism services by the military is problematic since it deprives the local population of a valuable income source. It also raises major concerns with regards to transparency.

Studies / Research / Report
Society for Threatened Peoples
88 pages
Sri Lanka
General Human Rights Information
Tourism Development
Tourism Stakeholder