Newspaper article Tweed Daily News (Tweed Heads, Australia)

Sri Lanka Has Plenty to Offer Tourists

Newspaper article Tweed Daily News (Tweed Heads, Australia)

Sri Lanka Has Plenty to Offer Tourists

Article excerpt

Byline: MICHAEL OSBORNE

'AYUBOWAN' is a lovely Sinhalese greeting salutation, which is Long Life. Following the devastation of the April terrorism atrocities, I was invited by the Sri Lankan Government to return and review the tourism side of things.

My previous visit was in 2016, following an official invitation from the United Nations World Tourism Organisation to represent Australian travel media at their special conference; Tourism: A Catalyst for Development, Peace and Reconciliation in Passikudah, Sri Lanka.

Arriving at Colombo, the first thing noticed is the very obvious increase in security, which gives one the feeling of safety. Tourism is one of the main industries for this tiny island nation - about the size of Tasmania - but with a population of over 21 million.

From Colombo, we headed North East to Sigiriya, then to the coast and Trincomalee. Next we headed back to the heart of the country and Kandy, then further south to Ella and back to the east coast town to Galle, before leaving for Mt Lavina and returning to Colombo.

What had changed?

It is very obvious that the people of Sri Lanka have formed a unified bond, forgetting about various religious differences and merging as one to overcome the tragedy. All places of worship were open and people were smiling and going about their daily chores.

Everywhere we went, the hotels and resorts were showing good occupancy and we managed to bump into Aussie travellers at most of them, who all expressed that they felt totally safe and were all enjoying their holidays.

A tiny country, it was once known as Ceylon and has a huge history. About 2600 years of recorded history dates this civilisation. Buddhism was introduced in the third century BC, to become the dominant religion.

Around the sixth century BC the Sinhalese arrived from Northern India and a substantial civilisation evolved. They established various kingdoms and continued to prosper until the 16th century.

Then the Europeans, looking for exotic spices started a series of invasions. …

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