This year when our Prime Minister, Mr. Narendra Modi visited Sri Lanka, that was the time when I really got reading around the beautiful island nation that is one among our closest neighbors. Ever since March, the capital city of Sri Lanka, Colombo has been on my mind. So while I was in Dubai last week, I got to know about this ‘first-of-its-kinds’ tourism fest happening in there. Of course, I could not be there to attend it but I was absolutely curious to know about its agenda and highlights. The festival got my attention immediately because the new government sounded very upbeat about it. I quite liked the statement when I read- “Let the foreigners know that Sri Lanka is now tourism minded in order to entertain and provide events.”
As a travel blogger, I am always on a lookout for stories to share, that inspire to travel. In fact, today’s generation loves to explore, discover and travel. They are well informed. They look for facilities, luxuries, offbeat destinations and events. The more I have traveled far and near, the more I can assert and say its very important to provide for new entertainment options for tourists. That is why everyone needs to make efforts to lure in visitors. Each country has to pitch themselves as the next destination. And Sri Lanka is already on their toes. They have found out the gaps and they are already working on it. This Tourism Fest 2015 happens to be a the first initiative towards taking a leap towards some big changes.
Nature has blessed us with amazing treats for the eyes and the soul. And traveling makes us wiser in any case. Thus, tourism can play a very important role in the growth of the economy of any country. With proper plan and facilities, it can become the biggest foreign exchange earner for a country.
The Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) came together with several other organizations and tourism institutions under the Tourism Development and Christian Religious Affairs Ministry to make Sri Lanka as destination for festivities. This event marked the celebration of calendar events. The new ministry has realized that there is a lack of events for tourists. Some people visit other countries in search of lot of entertainment. I am glad that the needs were thought about and this fest was planned and organized to make it a very special and memorable visit for the natives who were home for Christmas and for the thousands of tourists who traveled to the country in this month. December turned out to be a super busy month for Sri Lanka.
Lets find out what happened at the ‘Tourism Fest 2015’ and how it is expected to add to the ‘destination Sri Lanka’ proposition.
It was a five day event and the dates of the festival were 19th to 23rd December 2015.
The festival was officially launched by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe on the first day, 19 December at the Arcade, Independence Square by lighting up a giant Christmas tree.
The idea behind the fest was to celebrate December as the peak month with respect to tourism. The tourist arrivals and festivities were recorded highest in this month. Thus, several organizations teamed together to offer the best of the country at one place- Sri Lankan food, tea, gem, jewelry, handicrafts, wildlife exhibitions, cultural shows, Christmas carols, fireworks etc.
The five day Tourism Fest featured daily musical shows with popular bands, artistes and orchestras. The cultural shows also saw participation from Sri Lanka Armed forces and Sri Lanka Police. There were Musical Orchestras too.
The Gem & Jewellery Authority presented an exhibition on Sri Lankan gems.
There was an exposition of Sri Lankan culture and heritage presented by Central Cultural Fund showcasing photographs, artefact replicas and books.
Its a known fact that there is a rich wildlife in Sri Lanka. The Zoological Department and the Department of Wild life also came together at this fest to put up exhibitions relevant to the wild life of Sri Lanka and zoological gardens of the Island.
There was a food festival too that showcased local culinary talent. The big hotels and the famous restaurant were featured in hawker street style dining extravaganza and food and beverage was made available at concessionary prices. I think this was a superb idea. Not everyday and not everybody can afford the costly places. There should be such special occasions when people can afford such luxury treats too.
Along with creating an awareness for local food, the International cuisines-Mongolian, Arabic, Chinese, Malaysian, Thai, Korean, Italian, Indian, Japanese, Indonesian, Sri Lankan and specialty desserts were made available at a nominal fee.
We have all heard about special tea varieties in Sri Lanka. The Sri Lanka Tea Board featured a tea tasting center displaying a variety of teas available in the Island.
What was Carols On Wheels’? This was a cool idea too. As part of this the Colombo City Tour had ensured that its double-decker buses operated a shuttle service between the leading five-star hotels and the Arcade. To keep up with the Christmas celebrations, live carols were played on board.
To keep up with the spirit of Christmas, a variety of schools and choirs of Churches were invited to perform carols during this event.
For the kids, there were interesting firework displays, Santa dropping by activity, face painting, games, quizzes, raffle draws, etc.
TOURISM FEST 2015
I wanted to blog about it to make travelers aware of such events. Next time, when you are traveling to a place, you must check for events during those days. I also wanted to show the other side of the story that how tourism boards are thinking about people visiting the country. Taking a lesson from this, other countries should also work towards providing the best to their visitors.
LetMeKnow.lk: Thank you for the pictures!!
Sri Lanka Tourism: Thank you for the information.