Tourism in Sri Lanka is growing rapidly. For centuries, Sri Lanka has been a popular place of attraction for foreign travelers. The famous Chinese traveler Fa-Hien arrived in Sri Lanka in the late 4th century. In the twelfth century, Italian explorer Marco Polo claimed that Sri Lanka to be the "best island of its size in the world". In view of its fascinating scenic beauty and rich cultural heritage, Sri Lanka is one of the best tourist destinations in the world.
In 2012, post office worldwide holiday costs barometer named Sri Lanka as the best valued destination for holidays. In 2013 the popular travel guide book Lonely Planet named Sri Lanka as the best travel destination for 2013. According to the Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report 2015 Sri Lanka is at 63 out of 141 countries.
The government initiatives in development of tourism date back to 1937 when the Ceylon Tourist Bureau was established. However, it was closed down in September 1939 due to World War II. After Sri Lanka's independence the promotion of tourism was again considered by re-establishing the Ceylon Tourist Board which took over the function of the Tourist Bureau. More formal recognition for the country's tourism sector was given with the enactment of Act No. 10 of 1966. This provided the legislation for the establishment of Ceylon Tourist Board. Since then the Ceylon Tourist Board has functioned as the state agency, responsible for development and promotion of the tourism sector in Sri Lanka.
In October 2007 according to Section 2 of the Tourism Act No. 38 of 2005, the Sri Lanka Tourist Board (Act No 10 of 1966) was replaced by the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA).
Currently Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority has classified Sri Lanka into several resort regions suitable for tourism development.