Sri Lanka, known for its warmth and hospitality, was torn apart by the ferocity of the Easter Sunday explosions last year. Even though the country teetered on the brink of retaliation for a while, her people chose wisely and emerged with greater solidarity.
Tourism suffered the expected toll as all, but a handful of the most determined visitors, cancelled their visits, prompting the hospitality operators to unite and send a plea to the world to return to the island, and Lovesrilanka.org was born.
The Sri Lanka Tourism Alliance pooled resources and expertise to formulate an action plan that has delivered impressive progress in restoring the allure of the island for visitors.
In his travelogue, Marco Polo described Sri Lanka as the best island of its size in the world. He was joined by the Lonely Planet and a host of other travel guides that have more recently discovered the resplendence of this beautiful island. Sri Lanka not only boasts some of the spectacular surfing beaches on the east or kite surfing adventures by the lagoon in the west, the island nation also offers an abundance of calm in the cool, central hills, carpeted with tea. The attraction of Sri Lanka lies in a collection of unique experiences that visitors can enjoy in an island that is genuinely unspoiled through her big smile, honest food, incredible artisans, gorgeous beaches, tranquil lagoons, tea country and life.
Sri Lanka offers some of the world’s most fascinating train journeys. The trains are slow and sometimes unreliable but that is part of the country’s appeal, where time acquires lustre that is pure Lanka
And there’s more. Beyond what has already been discovered lies a whole different Sri Lanka, shining in the richness of colour that forms the rural idyll. A few miles from our beaches, inland from Galle, lies Unawatuna and other quaint places that tourists love to explore. You will find rice fields dotted with farmers — a showcase of Sri Lankan village life. Our food is extraordinary as everything is cooked fresh in terracotta pots. In every direction there is a view that could brighten up any postcard.
Sri Lanka offers some of the world’s most fascinating train journeys. The trains are slow and sometimes unreliable but that is part of the country’s appeal, where time acquires lustre that is pure Lanka.
Sri Lanka is safe — Muslims, Buddhists, Christians and Hindus co-exist here. You can experience their beaming smiles and genuine hospitality. Kalpitiya is great fun, so is Trincomalee. Galle is spectacular, and then there is Mirissa. Don’t forget Kandy, Polonnaruwa, Dickoya and Weligama.
In Sinhala, Sri Lanka means a resplendent island and the country lives up to its name, for there is truly no other island in the world that is quite as resplendent as ours. We love our country and we are happy to share our love with others. Welcome to Sri Lanka.
— The writer is CEO of Dilmah Tea, Chair of Biodiversity Sri Lanka and the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC) Sri Lanka