Sri Lanka always has had a reputation for creativity and new innovations. It is not only the tropical climate or the lush greenery which attracts many tourists each year, but also the ancient culture and heritage which goes back to 2500 years. Even up to now, researches and scientists are astonished and cannot find the system our ancient ancestors used to create drainage systems which turn water to the paddy fields and the giant water tanks, or the beautiful sculptures, murals and buildings which showcase our excellent craftsmanship. This is why Sri Lanka is known as the " Pearl of the Indian Ocean".
Whenever tourists pay a visit to Sri Lanka, one thing they will not forget to take back home are souvenirs. These include colorful miniatures of wooden elephants, handlooms, pouches, bags made of fiber, silver, copper and brassware items, jewellery and ornaments. The handloom and handicraft industry in Sri Lanka dates back to the time of king Vijaya. Even when the Europeans invaded our country, they also brought with them their own handicraft methods and they were passed from generation to generation thereafter. Up to this day, one can see the lovely "Beeralu" lace which were gifted from the Dutch and being an important way of self-employment down south. The making of handicrafts may not be only a passion or a hobby, but also a way of self-employment and one of the key products which can create a global market and bring financial benefits to the country.
Srilanka always had a great friendship with its neighbor, India, as two countries which share similar cultures, traditions, rituals and even handicrafts. Handicrafts include Brassware, Silver and copper ware, handlooms, wood carvings, pottery, murals, lacquer, etc. Therefore this can be one factor which can create bilateral relationships between countries and bring more tourists to Sri Lanka. Right now at the moment, two marketing exhibitions pertaining to crafts were held in India, organized by the ‘’Hands of Sri Lanka- National Arts and Crafts Foundation’’ in collaboration with the Ministry of Finance, Sri Lanka. 20 Sri Lankan artisans are participating in these exhibitions to showcase their skills in craft making. These shows was held in Chennai and New Delhi from 24th of September to 15th of October 2016. The 1st exhibition was held from the 24th of September in Chennai at the famous "Kalakestra" complex with 11 Sri Lankan Artisans participating. This is in collaboration with the " Daskari Haat Samiti" and the 2nd exhibition was held in New Delhi at the " Delhi Haat " crafts complex with the support of the Sri Lankan High Commission in Delhi . The Development Commissioner of Handicrafts, India, and Sri Lankan artisans have taken part in these shows. The 2nd exhibition have taken place from 1st of October to the 15th of October. Both programmes are personally supported by Hon. Ravi Karunanayake , Minister of Finance as he is keen and also interested in marketing and promoting Sri Lankan handicrafts abroad. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Indian High Commission in Sri Lanka are also extending their full support and cooperation to make both projects a success.