Hambantota suffered a great deal of damage in the wake of the 2004 tsunami. However, both the town and the district have been at the center of a concerted reconstruction effort. Being the home constituency of the president of the country has proved to be advantageous for the area. Construction of the Mahinda Rajapaksa Port, a largely Chinese-funded deep-sea harbor, began in January 2008. The port became operational in 2010; it is said that on full completion it will be the largest port in South Asia. In addition, an international airport, situated 28 km north of the town, commenced operations in 2013 and is expected to bolster trade and tourism in the area.
While Hambantota can be a good base for exploring the nearby Bundala National Park, the town itself doesn’t offer many attractions to lure the casual visitor. It is pleasant enough to wander around though, and the viewing platform opposite the bus station is a good spot to observe the fish market or look out over the old port. Three-wheeler drivers may offer to take visitors out to see the new port, the new convention center, the airport site or the tsunami memorial on the beach. It is advisable to agree to a price before setting off. more