In continuation of the Sri Lanka tourism promotion in CIS countries, the Embassy of Sri Lanka in the Russian Federation, with the untiring and persevering efforts of His Excellency Udayanga Weeratunga, organized ten day familiarization tour for the delegation from the CIS countries from 13 to 22 November 2013 in collaboration with the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau. The 75 member delegation, consisting of government officials, representatives of major media companies and representatives of travel and tour agencies from the Russian Federation, Republic of Belarus and Ukraine, had the opportunity of gaining exclusive experience on Sri Lanka tourism whilst enjoying the hospitality of the nation.
In terms of tourist arrivals in Sri Lanka from the CIS countries, Russia and Ukraine, recording the first two positions, and Belarus being the emerging country, it was the foresight and future planning of the Sri Lankan envoy in Moscow which led to selection of representatives from these three countries. The delegation commenced their official engagements by visiting the exhibition “Reflections of Sri Lanka” on 13 November and attending the Tourism Forum on 14 November 2013.
Having visited the City of Colombo on 14 November, the first outstation visit of the tour was Dambulla on 15 November, where the delegation visited ancient and historical Rangiri Dambulla Temple. The night stay was at the “Cinnamon Lodge – Habarana”. On the next day after a visit to Polonnaruwa, the delegation rested at the Hotels “Amaya Lake” and “Deer Park”. On 17 November, having visited the Rock Citadel at Sigiriya, the delegation arrived at “Cinnamon Citadel“ in Kandy for the night rest.
The major attraction of this tour is that it was so magnificently planned to provide the delegation with the “Heritage”, “Thrills”, “Wild”, ”Scenic”, “Essence”, “Cuisine“ and “Pristine” of Sri Lanka. Each morning the Ambassador briefed on the days program and the places to be visited on the day. This interesting and educative briefing was followed by the on location briefing by professional guides arranged by the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau. The next event of the tour was visits to Peradeniya Botanical Gardens and Elephant Orphanage in Pinnawela. By evening the delegation was transferred to “The Grand Hotel” of Nuwara Eliya.
In the morning of 19 November having visited the botanical Gardens of Hakgala, the tour continued in the Yala Wild Life Sanctuary. “Peacock Beach Hotel” was the night stay of the delegation. 21 and 22 November was the time to enjoy the pristine beaches of the country along the southern coast line. “Hotel Vivanta by Taj” was the final destination of the tour, and having enjoyed the sun and sands of Bentota for two days, the delegation arrived at the Colombo International Airport on 22 November 2013.
Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau on Thursday(14th) held the biggest international tourism forum ever to be conducted in the country in parallel to the Commonwealth Summit in the Island with 178 travel and tour operators and 38 journalists from 13 countries taking part in the event, which was held in Battaramulla.