Sri Lanka Tourism hosts tour for Indian media personnel

Sri Lanka Tourism hosted a familiarisation (FAM) tour for a group of media personnel from India as they arrived in Colombo on 15 November as a means of further developing bilateral connections between the two nations and engaging India’s support as a good neighbour to promote Sri Lanka as a tourist destination.

Accordingly, the media crew of 17 journalists, bloggers, and influencers participated in this tour, as they represented mainstream media houses such as The Times of IndiaThe Hindu, and White Hat Media (Pvt.) Ltd., National Geographic Traveler, YouTube channel – Tamil Navigation, Instagram pages such as Malayali Yathrakal, dark angel, Surbhi – travel and lifestyle blogger, and Indian travel blogs such as Explore with Ecokats and, etc. The media crew was divided into three groups to cover travel destinations in Sri Lanka pertaining to the island nation’s heritage, the Southern coast, and adventure. This was the first time a media delegation was made to report on separate sections on one tour and promote tourism in a more progressive way.

In reporting heritage, they visited places such as the Ridi Viharaya, Minneriya, Anuradhapura, Mihintale, the Sigiriya Rock Fortress, the Dambulla Cave Temple, Polonnaruwa, spice gardens, the Peradeniya Botanical Gardens, the Temple of the Tooth Relic, the Giragama Tea Factory, Embekke Devalaya in Kandy, and the Negombo beaches as well as experiencing cultural dance performances. They were amazed at the magic and splendour these destinations had to offer and of the proud heritage which has been preserved for many years. 

The group covering the Southern belt of Sri Lanka had the opportunity of visiting the Yala National Park, Hambantota, Galle, and Mirissa. They were also able to visit the Kanneliya Rain Forest, the Lunuganga Estate, the Dutch Fort – Galle, and engage in whale watching at Mirissa. The Lunuganga Estate was a favourite among the visitors as this was the country house of renowned Sri Lankan architect Geoffrey Bawa. 

En route, the media personnel visited the Kande Vihara, where the 160 feet-tall Buddha statue is believed to be one of the tallest in the world. Another attraction was the whale and dolphin watching experience in Mirissa, where they were able to see various species of whales and dolphins performing acrobatics in the warm Indian ocean.

The third group went on an adventure trail as they covered areas including locations such as Kandy, Horton Plains – Nuwara Eliya, Ella, Bentota, etc. They visited the Peradeniya Botanical Gardens, the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic, and the Hantana Mountain range, which is a popular adventure hub for those who would be interested in hiking, camping, and bird watching and enjoying a spectacular view of the Kandy City. 

All these specific locations offered a plethora of content for the media group to deliver through their respective media houses and platforms. The group travelled to Horton Plains in the early hours of the day, the only national park situated in the hill country, which is Sri Lanka’s highest and most isolated plateau at an elevation of more than 2000 m located in the Nuwara Eliya District. After an evening walk in Nuwara Eliya City, they proceeded to Ella by train and finally to Bentota, which saw the conclusion of the tour.

This media FAM tour is considered an exclusive opportunity to promote Sri Lanka as a tourist destination among Indian travellers and encourage more Indian tourist arrivals to Sri Lanka, especially as both countries share similar historical and cultural aspects, traditions, and religious sites. It will also be an opportunity to convey a positive message that Sri Lanka is safe for visitors and travellers. 

As per reports, India has recorded the highest number of tourist arrivals to the country this year.