A Christmas Edition of the iconic Colombo City Tour service operated by Ebert Silva Holidays was launched at Galle Face Hotel in Colombo.
Hon.Minister of Tourism Development and Christian Religious Affairs, John Amaratunga in discussion with Ms. Rajini De Silva Mendis, Chairperson, Ebert Silva Holidays and General Manager, Galle Face Hotel, Mr. Deni Ohlsen- Dukic.
The special service which coincides with the annual Christmas Fest organized by Sri Lanka Tourism will pick up tourists from all leading city hotels and take them to the seasonal city attractions, Christmas Fest at the Independence Arcade from December 20th to 22nd and Christmas Street at Green Path from December 21st to 23rd on a daily basis. This service is offered on a complimentary basis for tourists.
The Minister posing for a group photograph –seated from left to right: Mr. Sutheash Balasubramaniam , Managing Director , Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau , Mr. Deni Ohlsen- Dukic, Hon. Minister of Tourism Development and Christian Religious Affairs , John Amaratunga , Mr. Alston Koch , award winning Sri Lankan born Australian artiste/ musician
Interestingly those on board the open top double decker busses will be treated to a live performance of Christmas carols by various choirs during the journey.
The Hon. Minister in conversation with tourists who participated at the event
The official launch of this special service was held under the patronage of Minister of Tourism Development and Christian Religious Affairs, John Amaratunga, Chairperson of Ebert Silva Holidays, Rajini De Silva Mendis and General Manager of Galle Face Hotel, Deni Ohlsen-Dukic.
Hon. Minister of Tourism Development and Christian Religious Affairs, John Amaratunga ready to cut the ribbon for the launch.Mr. Sutheash Balasubramaniam , Managing Director , Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau , and Mr. Deni Ohlsen- Dukic looks on.
Minister Amaratunga speaking at the launch noted that Sri Lanka was keen on developing event based tourism and Christmas and Vesak have been identified as key calendar events. “In the last few years we have transformed Colombo in to a festive hub during the Christmas season. This year we have gone a step further in association with the private sector which is the driving force behind this initiative. I hope tourists will take note of what we are doing and spread the word, especially on social media,” said Minister Amaratunga.
Speaking on the launch Chairperson, Ebert Silva Holidays, Rajini De Silva Mendis said that Ebert Silva Holidays was very happy to be a part of the city celebrations and that the City Tour busses will link the festive events with the hotels. “We are offering a complimentary shuttle service for foreign guests as well as for Sri Lankans to get to these locations in an enjoyable manner, celebrate and then get back to their hotels using the same service.”
She added, “I commend the Ministry of Tourism and Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau for initiating this, so that foreign visitors will not be missing Christmas at home.”
General Manager, Galle Face Hotel, Deni Ohlsen-Dukic said that Galle Face Hotel was honored to partner Sri Lanka Tourism and Colombo City Tour on this venture. “Through these festive events we are promoting Sri Lanka and especially the city in a very effective and memorable manner,” he noted.
Mr. Alston Koch, the award winning Sri Lankan born Australian artiste who has been specially flown down to Colombo by Sri Lanka Tourism for the launch of Christmas Fest, Christmas Street and other seasonal events was nostalgic about his childhood in Sri Lanka. “Back in the day we grew up seeing the double decker busses on our roads and it is great to see Sri Lanka Tourism leading the way in bringing back some of these iconic features of the city. When I saw these red busses it brought a tear to my eye because I used to travel in them to school.”
Expressing his views on Sri Lanka, he said, “Thanks to the Tourism Ministry and SLTPB coming up with these novel ideas Colombo is becoming the place to be at Christmas time. With the city being lit up and lots of festive cheer, it is a fantastic experience to be here.”
A foreign tourist, Ms. Connie Sommers from Germany who was present at the launch recalled that she first visited Colombo back in 1991. “Today, Colombo is a very clean and well maintained city. The old buildings are maintained well and the people are very nice. This is a really interesting experience which I’m looking forward to,” she said.
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