Visitors to Sri Lanka, the police are watching you. Do you feel safer?

Visitors to Sri Lanka, the police are watching you. Do you feel safer?

Authorities in Sri Lanka take a Big Brother approach to visitor security in measure to protect tourism gains
Sri Lanka had a record year for tourism in 2012. Now it wants to protect that growth.

As tourism arrivals increase, Sri Lanka is upping security -- perhaps to an uncomfortable degree.

A new nationwide security plan will force all hotels in the country to submit information about their foreign guests to the police. 

Each week, hotels must hand over passport numbers and visa details of foreigners.

While this may perturb some tourists, police say the measures are being taken in order to better protect visitors. 

"It's not about monitoring the tourists at all, but more to know who to protect," a marketing representative for a top hotel in Colombo told CNN.

The hotel was notified of the new plan earlier this week.

Huge growth

Tourism has played a significant role in Sri Lanka's economic growth since the end of the country's 26-year civil war in 2009.

Last year, the island country saw a 17% growth in arrivals and welcomed its millionth tourist of 2012 (she was Chinese). Total tourism revenues also exceeded $1 billion for the first time. 

The new plan is a response to concerns about safety. 

Despite increasing numbers of tourists, the country's image as a safe destination took a blow after British national Khuram Shaikh was killed at a Tangalle resort in 2011 and two European travelers were attacked last month. 

Neverthess, British Airways resumed flights to Colombo this week after 15 years. 

The reopening of the Gatwick-Colombo route made headlines throughout Sri Lanka and the inaugural flight was met by high-ranking dignitaries and a flurry of local TV crews and journalists. 

More on CNN: The Gathering: Sri Lanka's great elephant migration

Frances Cha is a Digital Producer at CNN Travel. 

 

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