Leopards at Yalla // (c) 2009 Varini de Silva
Stilt Fishermen // (c) 2009 Varini de Silva
Kandy Perahera // (c) 2009 Varini de Silva
Having just returned from Sri Lanka, I am encouraged by the recent events and compelled to share my impressions with you. Sri Lanka is beginning a hopeful future for tourism after the end of a long conflict that tainted this small island nation for the past few decades.
Sri Lanka Tourism officially launched its new logo and tagline, “Sri Lanka: A Small Miracle,” thereby opening a new chapter in destination branding for this magical island.
Sri Lanka is blessed with a myriad of attractions, such as many UNESCO World Heritage Sites, sandy beaches, misty mountains covered with tea bushes and wildlife reserves with a variety of bird life, elephants and leopards. The sacred hill capital of Kandy is home to the tooth relic of Buddha. This relic is the focus of the annual Kandy Esala Perahera, a pageant of vivid color and sound with hundreds of elephants, dancers and drummers parading through the streets. A similar festival, called the Nawam Maha Perahera, will be held in Colombo on Feb. 28, 2010.
A visit to Sri Lanka will give visitors a sense of a rich culture that has been shaped by the historic colonization by the Portuguese, Dutch and British. The tapestry of different influences provides an interesting array of cuisine and traditions, in addition to historic buildings like the Forts, Ramparts and other colonial structures that are scattered around the country.
Sir Arthur C. Clarke who made Sri Lanka his home since 1956 said, “The island of Sri Lanka is a small universe, it contains as many variations of culture, scenery and climate as some countries a dozen times its size.”
The hotels in Sri Lanka offer some of the most picturesque settings with excellent service. From budget hotels to unique boutique hotels, there is a wide selection of properties at very reasonable rates. Sri Lankans are famous for their hospitality and their smiling faces will welcome visitors everywhere they travel.
Getting to Sri Lanka is made easy by the major carriers that travel there. Among them are Sri Lankan Airlines, Singapore Airlines, Malaysia Airlines, Thai Airways, Cathay Pacific Airways, Emirates Airways, Qatar Airways, Gulf Air and many others.
Whether your clients are interested in history, culture, art, nature, gem stones, wildlife, food, soft adventure, trekking, hiking, bird-watching or watersports they will not leave this incredible island without being delighted by their trip.
By Varini de Silva
Ceylon Express International
Huntington Beach, Calif.