Sri Lanka Tourism to celebrate success and the season


With Sri Lanka expected to create history by welcoming two million tourists during 2016 in December, Sri Lanka Tourism is planning two major events to celebrate the milestone and entertain the record number of tourists visiting Colombo during the peak season.

The Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau, under the guidance of the Ministry of Tourism Development and Christian Religious Affairs, is spearheading arrangements for these events due to be held at two separate locations in Colombo from 20-24 December  in collaboration with the private sector.

Tourism Fest 2016 will take place at the Independence Arcade in Colombo and will be declared open by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and Minister of Tourism Development, Christian Religious Affairs and Lands, John Amaratunga, on 20 December while President Maithripala Sirisena will preside at the closing ceremony on 23 December.

Meanwhile, the inaugural Colombo Christmas Street is set to take place from 22-24 December at Green Path offering a whole new concept in entertainment. The event will be organised by the Sri Lanka Retailers’ Association in collaboration with the Ministry of Tourism Development and the Colombo Municipal Council.

The seasonal program will feature up to 50 trade stalls selling a variety of gift items, local crafts, hampers among a number of other products.  A food festival with 15 stalls run by the city’s top hotels will also feature a wide range of local delicacies and seasonal favorites. A fun array of entertainment and games will create a carnival style ambiance in the heart of the city.

The daily program will commence at 2.00 p.m. and continue till 11.00 p.m. Entertainment includes a children’s play area, bouncers, pony rides, a mini merry-go-round, face painting and much more. Several social awareness stalls will also be run to promote their work and activities. These include Trail, the Red Cross, the Girl Guides Association, Sri Lanka Police and a Drug Awareness stall.

Up to four choirs are scheduled to perform each day from 6.30 p.m. to 8.00 p.m. and thereafter live bands and DJs will perform along with several guest artists until 11.00 p.m. DJs will also be playing an array of festive songs and upbeat music from 4.00 p.m. to 6.30 p.m. while animators and magicians entertain children and brighten up their holidays.

The entire Green Path stretch will be decorated in sparkling fairy lights and seasonal décor, making it the ideal venue for families to explore, spend time together and pick up last-minute Christmas presents. The street will serve as a central entertainment spot in the city, offering fun activities and delights for the whole family.

The four-day Tourism Fest will run parallel to the Colombo Christmas Street. Entertainment at the Tourism Fest at the Arcade includes performances by the Army, Air Force and Police Bands, various choirs singing Christmas Carols, groups conducting nativity plays and various cultural shows.

A fireworks display is set to dazzle the environs of Independence Square while a special kiddies entertainment area will keep the youngsters entertained while the adults grab bargains at the shopping bazaar featuring top global brands.

Tourism Fest will feature food and beverage stalls by leading hotels and restaurants in Colombo with live demonstrations of different cuisines giving visitors an opportunity to learn and experience the culinary aspects of Sri Lanka. The international cuisine on offer will include Mongolian, Arabic, Chinese, Malaysian, Thai, Korean, Italian, Indian, Japanese, Indonesian and specialty desserts at nominal rates. In addition, the Sri Lanka Tea Board will feature a tea tasting center with a display of the many varieties of tea available in the island.

One of the main attractions for tourists will be an exposition of Sri Lankan culture and heritage presented by the Central Cultural Fund showcasing photographs, artifact replicas and books. The Gem & Jewellery Authority will also be organising an exhibition on Sri Lankan gems with a sales outlet as well. The Zoological Department and the Department of Wildlife will have exhibitions on the wildlife and zoological gardens of Sri Lanka.

A special double decker shuttle bus service organised by ‘Colombo City Tour’ will be available from selected Colombo hotels daily to and from the two venues.

Tourism Fest 2016 and Colombo Christmas Street will combine to create a unique celebration of Sri Lanka’s tourism success story while spreading the spirit of the season among locals and tourists alike.

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