Sri Lanka has been included in an Asian Development Bank funded project to link and promote tourist sites in south Asian countries, especially for eco-tourism and pilgrimage tourism.
A report by the ADB said the project was conceived as a linked series of sub-regional tourism investments in the five countries – Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal and Sri Lanka.
The projects are aimed at better positioning South Asia and especially the selected “multi-country” tourist circuits in the target world markets, and improving cross-border travel.
They also aim to ensure better management of natural and cultural heritage sites of tourism importance in the region and increase the participation by communities in tourism development.
A South Asia Tourism Marketing Program that is part of the project will promote the region’s ecotourism and Buddhist attractions.
This is to cater to the growing number of high spending travellers concerned with the environment as well as those attracted by Buddhism, the report said.
A growing number of foreign tourists tend to visit a combination of countries on one trip, it said.
Several countries in the region are positioned as the ‘Buddhist Heartland’ and feature some of the world’s major Buddhist attractions, many of them recognized as World Heritage sites.
“Recent trends in the search for Buddhist spiritual wellbeing show up strongly in source markets,” the report said.