Sri Lanka’s tourism potential for wreck diving featured at global conference


Dharshana Jayawardena addressing the audience at the ADEX Convention

Sri Lanka’s potential of wreck diving as a tourist attraction was brought to focus recently at the leading international dive conference ADEX held at Suntec City Singapore by Sri Lankan wreck explorer Dharshana Jayawardena who was selected to be a keynote speaker at this forum.

Asia Dive Expo (ADEX) is the leading and longest running dive show in Asia, organised by uw3some and its official publication the Asian Diver Magazine. It is the only event to be endorsed by major organisations in the industry, such as the Diving Equipment & Marketing Association (DEMA), Singapore Tourism Board (STB) and Singapore Underwater Federation (SUF).
Dharshana Jayewardene is the founder editor of, Sri Lanka’s only comprehensive website dedicated to scuba diving that includes a treasure trove of information of descriptions and pictures of most major dive sites in the island. Today the site is used by many dive enthusiasts from all over the world who visit Sri Lanka.

Dharshana was selected to speak at the ADEX convention given his expert knowledge about diving in Sri Lanka, especially in shipwrecks, and also due to his recent discoveries of the wrecks of the World War I SS Worestershire off the coast of Mount Lavinia and the World War II RAF Dutch Squadron Catalina aircraft crash site off Passikudah. Dharshana was also selected to be one of the main field editors for Asian Diver magazine which is a leading brand recognised internationally for its unique insights into diving in Asia. This puts Dharshana amongst the world’s best underwater journalists, photographers and tech divers that are contributors to the magazine.

At the convention, Dharshana addressed a large gathering of leading dive experts and enthusiasts from around the world with two keynote presentations – ‘World War II Wrecks in Sri Lanka’ and ‘Art & Science of unravelling the identity of mystery wrecks’, drawing attention to many historical wrecks that lie in the west and eastern coasts of the country. This paves the way for Sri Lanka to be featured amongst the industry as a leading wreck diving destination in Asia which in turn will bring about the birth of an entire new tourist industry resulting in opportunities for the country to earn much foreign revenue.  Many countries in Asia such as Maldives, Thailand and Philippines currently earn large reserves of foreign revenue through this industry amounting to around hundreds of million dollars annually. As for Sri Lanka, the world’s first purpose built aircraft carrier HMS Hermes sunk by the Japanese during World War II is already well known as one of the top diving sites in the world with many experienced divers visiting Sri Lanka just to dive the Hermes.

The presentations lead to many inquiries from the audience and Dharshana was able to promote the local dive centre’s spread throughout the west and east coast of the country such as Colombo, Bentota, Galle, Trincomalee, Passikudah, Batticaloa and Beruwela. He also advised the ideal times to visit the country and the type of dive itinerary to be adopted, resulting in week long stays, bringing revenue to many hotels in these areas.  Outlining his thoughts Dharshana stated, “It was an honour to represent Sri Lanka at such a prestigious International dive convention and to be the first speaker to be invited from Sri Lanka for ADEX. This opportunity definitely helped placed us in the world diving map and generated much interest amongst the international diving community. However, while we work on earning foreign revenue through this industry, it is also important to focus on the conservation and protection of our marine environment which is the key to a successful future in Marine Tourism.”

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