Archive for the ‘Sri Lanka Travel’ Category

Tapping Sri Lanka’s Adventure Tourism potential

The National Geographic Traveller ‘Cool List 2018’ released earlier this month, declared Sri Lanka in the number one spot to offer “A better all-round travel experience”. This experience touches on wildlife to cultural tourism, but one of the most untapped sectors in the country is Adventure Tourism.

This niche market whilst being practised on a small scale throughout the island has the potential to develop into a very lucrative industry, given the right policies and infrastructure.

If the available natural resources are properly exploited, Sri Lanka could become the hot spot for Adventure Tourism in South Asia, reveal adventure tourism operators.

Even though not branded as an Adventure Tourism destination, the majority of tourists arriving in Sri Lanka consciously or unconsciously engage in one form of Adventure Tourism or the other.

Tourists enjoy jungle and river safaris, scuba diving, snorkelling, water skiing, surfing, kite surfing, mountain cycling, mountaineering, rock climbing, white water rafting, canoeing or wind surfing and all of these outdoor leisure activities available in Sri Lanka come under the Adventure Tourism Sector.

Requirements in promoting Adventure Tourism

According to the International Adventure Tourism Development Index, countries which maintain the essential requirements such as ( a.) Sustainable Development Policy, (b) Safety and Security, (c) Tourism Infrastructure, (d) Natural Resources, (e) Cultural Resources, (f) Adventure Activity Resources, (g) Entrepreneurship, (h) Humanitarian and (i) Health, qualify as sought after Adventure Tourist Destinations in the world.

In addition, those who plan to be engaged in an Adventure Tourism venture should

possess thorough experience and specialist knowledge on the specific type of Adventure Tourism Industry.

Bungee Jumping – Dangerous form of Adventure Tourism

David Kirke and Chris Baker founded the Dangerous Sports Club of Oxford University, England and introduced modern day Bungee Jumping and the first jump was done on April 1st, 1979 from Clifton Suspension Bridge, Bristol, England which was followed by numerous other Bungee Jumping events.

Since 1990, Adventure Sports have been institutionalized and gradually Adventure Sports enter the sphere of Tourism Industry catering to the requirements of Adventure Sports enthusiasts visiting other parts of the globe seeking outdoor leisure activities.

As a direct consequence of globalization, every country depends on the hospitality trade for income generation and has to pay greater attention in adjusting to the ever changing needs and trends of the modern day tourists.

The decisive environmental factors relevant to the Adventure Tourism Sector are weather and terrain of a country. In addition, the Adventure Tourism sector depends on the condition of wind, snow and water which are considered as environmental variables of uncontrollable nature.

Thusal Gunawardena the owner of Sunshine Water Sports Centre, Aluthgama started his carrier as an enthusiast in Adventure Tourism at the age of 17 amidst numerous hardships.

As a direct result of dedication, enthusiasm and hard work he became an expert in the sphere of water sports in Sri Lanka recognized both nationally and internationally.

Thusal was ranked among the Top 10 at the World Windsurfing Championship of 1992 and won the 8th place out of 92 contestants when he took part in the 2009-2010 International Stand-up Paddling Competition, held in Hamburg, Germany.

He also won a Silver Medal at the South Asian Beach Games held at Hambantota recently. He trained hundreds of foreigners and locals in water sports and some of his employees having been trained thus, have migrated for better employment in the Middle East.

Global market for Adventure Tourism

“We live in a globalized world and compete in the world market with limited resources and the consumers of our products today, whether it is a product in the Tourism Industry or any other trade, are demanding and focused,” said Gunawardena as he stressed on the necessity to change according to the growth and novel trends in the global Adventure Tourism market.

He added that all those who were involved in every aspect of the Tourism Industry should have to change with the times and be creative in the ways they offered education on Adventure Sports found in Sri Lanka.

The present day traveller is keen on adventure and interested in exploring weird and wonderful places and opportunities should be made available for such tourists visiting Sri Lanka, he said.

He further explained that the untouched corners of the natural world were getting smaller and smaller and the situation in Sri Lanka was turning from bad to worse on a daily basis.

“Relevant authorities should take note of this situation and take action to protect such environmentally sensitive areas, if the Adventure Tourism Sector is to be developed,” said Gunawardena.

Water Sports gear

Costs also play an important role in deciding the viability of the sector. According to Gunawardena, the price of a Jet ski (Water Scooter) is around Rs. 2.2 million and he hired five Jet skis. The exorbitant prices of equipment affect the expansion of water sports and he further asked that steps be taken to reduce the import taxes for the equipment required for water sports and other items necessary for the Adventure Tourism Industry.

No Adventure without a pristine environment

Sri Lanka is considered a paradise for water sports and surfing can be done throughout the year, either in Arugam Bay in the Eastern Coast or at Hikkaduwa and Mirissa on the South Western Coast.

R. K. Somada de Silva, Director of International Diving Centre (Pvt.) Ltd. , Hikkaduwa is one of the most senior divers in Sri Lanka having more than 30 years experience in the field. He had undergone training in numerous International diving Institutions such as PADI (Asia Pacific ), UDI, CMAS (Germany) and Pro Dive (U.K.)

He is also an environmentalist and for many years was directly involved in replanting corals on the sea bed of the Hikkaduwa Marine Sanctuary. In 1998, corals bleached due to the El Nino effect and in recognition of his dedication to the conservation of the marine environment he was felicitated with a Certificate of Recognition by a German Travel Association . (Deutscher Reise Verband).

De Silva provides practical and theoretical lessons on diving at the International Diving Centre located near the Under Water Marine Sanctuary ( Coral Gardens).

He said it would not be an exaggeration to say that the Tourist Industry of Sri Lanka originated at Hikkaduwa on the Southern Coast mainly due to the existence of Coral Gardens which were full of rare species of multi coloured corals and coral fish.

For more than a century, Coral Gardens had enticed foreign holiday makers to Sri Lanka.

Hikkaduwa gradually became a sought after beach destination by internationally renowned marine biologists, naturalists, conservators and scientists, for its breathtaking beauty and scientific importance. De Silva said that some foreigners compared the Under Water Marine Sanctuary to a live marine biology laboratory.

When it came to Adventure Tourism, De Silva said the availability of the abundance of ship wrecks on the sea stretch from Akurala to Galle could be considered as a treasure trove to promote Wreck Diving – an aspect of Adventure Tourism.

De Silva said that in addition to ship wrecks there were several under water rocks identified as popular diving sites. But illegal methods of fishing using dynamite and other explosives however, have become a threat to promoting diving, he further said.

The Chairman of the Ocean University, Professor Ranjith Senaratne addressing a media conference held at the Ocean University in Tangalle recently, observed that the unique natural beauty and serene atmosphere on the ocean bed around Sri Lanka could be exploited in a sustainable manner to promote Adventure Tourism.

He pointed out that tourists around the world took a keen interest in enjoying underwater safaris and they spent hours under water in glass cabins watching the beautiful fish.

On land, people tour sanctuaries or wildlife parks, but in the ocean bed much more diversity could be seen when compared to the terrestrial environment.

Dr. Terney Pradeep Kumara, the Head of the Department of Oceanography and Marine Geology, University of Ruhuna however, first stressed on the need to protect Coral Reefs in the sea off the South, including Coral Gardens at Hikkaduwa. He said there was great potential in the ocean around Sri Lanka in promoting Adventure Tourism.

SNUBA – A mixture of Scuba and Snorkelling

“Mongoose Adventures”, one of the leading adventure sports companies in Sri Lanka

has its centres in Hikkaduwa, Trincomalee, Kalpitiya, Bentota and Habarana and has already

started its operations in promoting Adventure Tourism. For the first time in Sri Lanka, Mongoose Adventures has introduced “Snuba” a novel method of diving known as the tamer cousin of scuba and distant relative of snorkelling – a mixture of both types of diving.

Snuba is an easy and safe way to explore the diverse marine life around the seas of Sri Lanka for those who want to go beyond snorkelling. Snuba facilitates exploring the underwater world at deeper depths than snorkelling, even if you do not possess prior diving certification, Ishani Ranasinghe of Mongoose Adventures revealed.

In snuba most of the equipment used in scuba diving is used but the compressed

air tank is made to float on the surface rather than on the diver’ s back. Snuba diving has already been introduced at Hikkaduwa, Trincomalee and Mirissa, Nishan Silva, Managing Director of Mongoose said.

Nilaveli Beach and Pigeon Island in Trincomalee are ideal locations for Snuba where

there is amazingly rich and colourful marine life, he added.

He further explained that since its introduction 20 years ago, over 5 million people across the globe have successfully completed Snuba diving with no reports of serious injuries.

Kite surfing

Michael Walter an expert on Kite Surfing has trained several Sri Lankans on Kite Surfing as an Adventure Sport. Dilsiri Welikala happened to be one of his first trainees and now he conducts training classes on Kite Surfing to both foreign and local enthusiasts.

Kalpitiya and the North West Coast of Sri Lanka up to Jaffna have been identified as windy locations in Asia. Welikala said Kiters from many parts reached Kalpitiya since 2006 but due publicity was not given. Now Kalpitiya is on the kitesurfing map. Even though Kitesurfing is an extreme sport, for learners, lessons could be conducted on the flat, shallow waters in the lagoon, he added.

There are many Kite Surfing points at Kalpitiya and Kite Surfing could be promoted as a form of Adventure Tourism at Kalpitiya because the wind blows at an average speed of 18 – 20 knots, 24 hours a day, throughout the week, from May to September, according to Walter.

The opportunities and places to explore are plenty but one thing all those involved in the Adventure Tourism sector agree is that they do not receive much cooperation from government authorities to promote these sectors or to develop it.

Source : http://dailynews.lk/2017/12/15/features/137423/tapping-sri-lanka%E2%80%99s-adventure-tourism-potential

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BROWNS HOTELS AND RESORTS BRING LUXURY AND STYLE

 

The entrance to The Paradise Resort and Spa
Browns Hotels and Resorts is a subsidiary of The Browns Group, one of the largest conglomerates in Sri Lanka.

With operations in diverse industrial sectors around the nation, the group has a history 137 years and revels in the trust placed in them by generations of Sri Lankans.

Today, the Browns Group remains as part of the LOLC Group of Companies, to present to the world a range of exquisitely fashioned resorts and spas located in a variety of divine settings around the country. Paradise Resort and Spa

The Paradise Resort and Spa, situated in the ancient city of Dambulla, is a luxurious resort surrounded in canopies of lush forestry. The resort offers utmost luxury to all its guests whether it’s dining above the trees, relaxing by the pool or in the comfort of your villa.

Portraying a lavish fusion of local heritage and cosy fourstar Italian comforts, deep inside the nation’s cultural triangle, The Paradise Resort and Spa is the ideal destination for those seeking an experience mixed with enlightenment and pleasure.

The resort is in very close proximity to world heritage sites, letting you discover some of the greatest ancient architectural brilliance at the Dambulla Cave Temple, Sigiriya Fortress and many more locations that would take your breath away. Visit the Dambulla Cave Temples, the dark rocky refuge of King Valagamba, or the surrounding cultural attractions and then relax in the solace of snug Italian chalets, tightly tucked in between green canopies and lush forestry. The Paradise Resort and Spa Resort Manager Shehan Gregory provides some insight on the hotel. “The Paradise Resort and Spa is a four-star hotel based in Dambulla, owned by the Browns Hotels and Resorts. The main priority we strive to achieve is to give our guests an unforgettable exquisite experience during their stay with us. We give preference to the nature that surrounds the hotel, and this is what we use to market ourselves towards the local and foreign tourists. The current number of staff is 105, of which 80 percent is from the Dambulla area itself. The unique design of this hotel, the lavish Italian architecture, and the fact that most of the furniture is mainly from Italy and other parts of Europe, is what makes this place stand out from other hotels in the area.”

The hotel houses 67 luxurious chalets, with three varieties to chose from; Deluxe- 17 chalets, Duplex- 40 chalets, and Garden Suite- 10 chalets.

The hotel provides a wide array of fun-filled activities that are guaranteed to make you want to come back for more. The hotel accommodates a large, singlecarpet swimming pool giving you assurance of enjoying a relaxing dip in the pool with a slip-free surface, and a pool bar to compliment your time with a refreshing beverage or cocktail on a warm sunny day. The hotel also provides a state-of-the-art fitness centre with all the equipment you’d want to use to burn some calories after an authentic meal at the buffet, or after a personal delight from the rich and mouth-watering a la carte selection. A highlight of the resort is its Ayurvedic Wellness Centre and Thai Spa. This is the place to go if you want to feel what unwinding and relaxing really feels like. Consisting of masseurs with immense expertise, the magic of the lustful aroma from the ayurvedic medicinal oils and pleasure of the experienced moves of the masseur go hand in hand to compliment each other and give you the relief you’ve awaited all your life.

Some of the highlighted excursions that the hotel masters in conveying are fishing – for a sensational experience of quietness and peacefulness, bicycle riding – if you want to get some fresh air while getting your fitness maxed, bird watching – to satisfy the inner you with nature’s majestic airborne creatures, and even bullock cart riding – if you fancy the oldfashioned mode of transport to appreciate the prestigious value of nature on a much more eco-friendly scale.

Whether you want to come with your family, friends, or that special person, The Paradise Resort and Spa will live up to standard, being the ideal natural getaway location to provide you with nothing but promising comfort and lush extravagance.

Take a stroll on one of the world’s longest stretches of shallow coastline, and take part in thrilling water sport events or visit a range of local attractions located mere hours away from the resort.

With world renowned shallow coastlines and mesmerising blue waters, Pasikuda has now become one of the most sought after exotic holiday destinations on our paradise island. The Calm Resort and Spa promises any weary traveller an unforgettable, tropical retreat.

The resort is rated fourstars under the Tourist Board clarification, and boasts of 70 elegantly designed contemporary rooms, consisting of; Deluxe31 rooms, Premium- 15 rooms, Garden Collection- 21 rooms and three high-end suites- namely; The Calm Suite- two suites, and Passi Bay Suite- one suite.

Each room is decorated with hues of the breath taking ocean that can be found when a short stroll is taken down to the calm and shallow coastline.

The Calm Resort and Spa General Manager Susantha Bandara spoke to give some information on the resort. “The Calm Resort and Spa is a 70 room hotel in Pasikuda, and we have the second highest inventory in a hotel after Amaya. The Calm plays a special role in having the best part of the beach out of all the hotels, where you have a broad beach which is very safe to have a bath and take part in other recreational activities. The Calm Resort and Spa within a very short period of time has come a long way and we have been place number three on Tripadvisor and we have achieved Travellers Choice 2017 and Service Excellence 2015, 2016 and 2017, and that is because of the service of my team. Because I believe in the skills of local staff and I have recruited most of my staff from the locality.

In 2017 we saw a growth in occupancy, and the hotel mostly gets European clientele, after European clientele we get locals, but now we are planning to bring in Chinese, because our highest tourism influx is from China. We are planning a mega event for Chinese New Year in February next year. I want to make this hotel the best hotel the area, not with facilities itself, but also with service. When we say ‘The Calm’, the name itself speaks for the quality of calmness offered by the resort, and we are excelled in our service.”

The Calm Resort and Spa also offers a wide array of recreational activities, just like its sister hotel The Paradise Resort and Spa.

However, some excursions that The Calm offers are unique to the resort itself. Some such activities are; Diving and snorkelling – if you want to go beyond the crisp blue waters and explore the deep sea world and experience aquatic creatures with the naked eye, and boating and water sports – the fun and exciting adrenaline pumping excursions that you can participate in, if you dare.

The Calm Resort and Spa is truly a place to be, a place that your life deserves to be in and look at and feel, because an experience like this is not one you’d get to see every day. The Calm is truly filled with thrills.

Source : http://epaper.dailymirror.lk/epaper/viewer.aspx

Tourism and tech

Holidays are made on the internet. It is now standard practice for people to use online information, experience sharing and evaluations to decide where they want to travel and shape their decision making, which means that a country’s presence online has become incredibly important. However, Sri Lanka with its long delayed online destination campaign and limited exposure on social media, needs to evolve fast to be accessible to online travelers.

The world’s largest travel site TripAdvisor says the number of people searching for Sri Lankan content had increased 12% globally and has called on all stakeholders to take pride in the country and share their experiences to inspire more visitors.

The growth is not a new phenomenon but its expansion is important as Sri Lanka looks to upgrade the quality of its tourism, improve branding and connect it with sustainable growth. Sri Lanka is still largely considered to be an undiscovered gem but this could have limited impact unless the experience, safety, infrastructure and other elements of tourism are developed to match expectations.

This means keeping the stories authentic, building products that is true to the DNA of Sri Lankans, enhancing products that were sustainable for all stakeholders and engaging the local community for destination development. The trend of more passionate local travellers discovering Sri Lanka and sharing those stories really helps to drive global interest, even among locals the desire to find new places and experiences is growing and this can be linked with international interest. This could actually offset Sri Lanka’s struggle to get its digital promotional campaign off the ground for years, as sharing stories and experiences could partially bridge the gap of not having an organized Government-backed destination marketing campaign.

Sri Lankan travel operators have to be active in cyberspace, particularly making sure that their products were bookable online and through mobile devices. Another aspect is insights such as global trends and sharing those with the industry for a holistic approach to inspire travellers. It is also important to have a process that makes holiday planning easier for the traveler. For example countries such as Japan have one stop Facebook pages and websites where travelers can make bookings at different price points, this level of coordination gives countries an edge.

Another aspect that is often overlooked is the power of smart phones. In a world that is dominated by tech tourism service providers have numerous creative ways to increase their visibility and access. Cities have launched apps to help travelers find their way and restaurants, flea markets, bars, galleries and hotels have cashed in by creating quirky ways to get attention. From desserts that wow on Instragram to discovering historical sites, social media gives visibility to destinations on an unprecedented level. Social media is all the more useful because it also gives reviews that are an essential tool of experience planning.

While all this is important it is also necessary for Sri Lanka to get its wider political and economic policy working. The drawn out railway strike, for example, has also hit the tourism industry badly as travelers found they had to switch to more expensive modes of transport. Transforming online visibility to tangible returns still requires getting the basics right.

Source : http://www.ft.lk/ft-view/Tourism-and-tech/58-645127

Dusit Thani Beachfront Balapitiya announces 50% sold from phase-one

Dusit Thani Beachfront Balapitiya held a press event on December 7th 2017, to announce that 50 percent of Phaseone of the project has been sold.

As construction is underway, there are going to be several announcements within the next few months that will be released with regards to Stage-two of the project.

Stage-two includes a beautifully designed and landscaped beachside promenade providing a host of outstanding dining and entertaining choices consisting of Western, European and Asian inspired casual and fine dining restaurants, to barista cafes and patisseries, including the very best in champagne lounges, bespoke beer and whisky bars – all overlooking tropical gardens, serenaded by the waves and the ocean breezes.

Another big announcement that was made with regard to Stage-two of the project is that Dusit Thani Beachfront Balapitiya will contain one of the largest beach clubs in all of Asia. The beach club will have state of the art architecture whilst highlighting the natural beauty of the beach which will ultimately become the go-to spot in the south of Sri Lanka.

The operations of the Balapitiya Beach Club will be run by a world renowned International Beach Club Operator, who will be announced in the coming months.

Source : http://epaper.dailymirror.lk/epaper/viewer.aspx

Hello Kitty appointed Ambassador of Int. Year of Sustainable Tourism Development 2017

The UNWTO and Sanrio have signed an agreement that appoints Hello Kitty as a Special Ambassador the International Year of Sustainable Tourism Development 2017.

Hello Kitty, Sanrio’s best-known character, will promote the campaign “Travel. Enjoy. Respect.”

“Travelling opens our minds and our hearts, and lets us see how we are equal,” said Hello Kitty in a video inviting people to “Travel. Enjoy. Respect.” recorded especially for the campaign.

The video, already shown at Narita Airport in Japan, will also be published on the UNWTO’s website and social media channels.

Hello Kitty will support the UNWTO with its advocacy efforts in communicating the messages of the IY2017 to the broadest extent possible, as well as highlighting the role of tourism in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Source : http://www.ft.lk/travel-tourism/Hello-Kitty-appointed-Ambassador-of-Int–Year-of-Sustainable-Tourism-Development-2017/27-644901

India aiming to develop tourism through inter-country packages with Sri Lanka

By Chathuri Dissanayake in Assam, India

India has initiated talks with the Sri Lankan Government to develop policies to promote multi-destination packages to potential tourists which include the country as a destination, a top Indian official said yesterday.

Speaking to Daily FT on the sidelines of the Sixth Global International Tourism Mart held in Assam India, Indian Tourism Ministry Secretary Rashmi Verma said that the Indian Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) was already in discussion with the Sri Lankan Government to develop a proper policy on the matter.

“The dialogue is on and it is proceeding very well,” she said.

“We want to encourage people who come to Sri Lanka to visit India as well. They can visit neighbouring states in India or even fly to far-flung places like Northeast India. So we need to explore how we have packages which are encouraging people from the rest of the world to visit both countries.”

Further, India is also aiming to promote the destination to Sri Lankan travellers based on thematic tours, such as the Buddhist circuit and Ayurvedic Wellness packages.

“It is a two-way process. There is a lot of interest in India to visit Sri Lanka. We are hoping to generate similar interest,” she said. Indian tourist arrivals in Sri Lanka are only second to Chinese visitors.

She also spoke of promoting tourism within the region to encourage tourists from the neighbouring nations to engage in travelling within the region.

Taking popular European destinations as an example, Verma stated that the majority of visitors were from the same region.

“If you look at some of the top countries in the tourism industry, they are hugely dependent on regional tourism. If you look at Turkey then their tourists are mostly European. But in this region we have not capitalised on that and we ourselves create a very big market, and we should try to create inter-country packages within the region. We have a lot of affinities culturally as well so we should work on it together to get the maximum out of it,” she said.

However, India is yet to grant a visa-on-arrival facility to many of the countries in the region. Verma said that although granting visa-on-arrival was under consideration right now, only Japanese nationals are provided with the facility at present.

As part of their aggressive tourism promotion strategy, India is also looking at partnering the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) countries to promote multi-destination packages to include India.

“We are celebrating our association with ASEAN and MEA is taking a lot of initiative. There is a conclave happening and there is another INDO-ASEAN summit which is happening in February. As part of that whole initiative, people-to-people ties are also being promoted along with a number of other initiatives such as inter-country tours. Better connectivity is another thing we are still looking at to get flights flying in this region and creating awareness,” she explained.

The Indian Ministry of External Affairs is looking at opening land and rail routes in a bid to improve tourism as well, Verma revealed, with the aim of receiving a “substantial number of tourists in ASEAN” in the coming years.

Source : http://www.ft.lk/front-page/India-aiming-to-develop-tourism-through-inter-country-packages-with-Sri-Lanka/44-644875

IRONMAN to help sports tourism growth

With the Government setting an ambitious target of over 4.5 million tourist arrivals by 2020, Sri Lanka Tourism has been looking at opportunities to boost the country’s appeal, one of which is the burgeoning market of Sports Tourism. In this regard, Sri Lanka Tourism has partnered with Pro-Am Serendib (Pvt) Ltd to host the world’s top multi-sport event brand IRONMAN in the country.

The event is expected to directly benefit Sri Lanka’s economy by as much as US$ 4 million, while driving economic activities through increased employment and activities of local industries.

According to the World Tourism Organization, Sports Tourism is one of the fastest-growing sub-sectors in the travel industry, valued at US$ 600 billion. Sporting events have the potential to draw large crowds of spectators from around the world, resulting in an inflow of foreign income for the hosting country, while also giving the host the opportunity to entice these visitors with its additional offerings.
As such, IRONMAN 70.3 Colombo has the capacity to transform Sri Lanka into Asia’s foremost sports tourism destination, as hosting such an event will allow Sri Lanka to differentiate itself from other Asian destinations. At the same time, its rugged natural environment gives it the potential to become the adventure capital of Asia, paving the way for similar events by creating content for Sports Tourism marketing, capacity for event infrastructure, competency in terms of event management and international marketing, and confidence with user and stakeholder endorsements and strategic associations.

The IRONMAN 70.3, which is a qualifying round for triathletes to participate in the IRONMAN World Championship 2018 in South Africa, will take place in Colombo on 25 February 2018 with a
1.9 km sea swim, a 90km bike ride and a 21.2km run to be completed by athletes within an 8.5-hour period.
The event aims to contribute to Sri Lanka’s tourism revenue in 2018 and beyond with an international product for the ‘affluent traveller’ market. It can have a significant effect on city hotels and urban lifestyle businesses in Colombo during 2018/19 by drawing in over 2,000 affluent tourists for five days, estimated to occupy 1,000 rooms per night. It will also draw tourism to several parts of the country, estimated to engage roughly 5,000 rooms per night.

“We are excited about this as we expand our portfolio of races, especially in South Asia, where the number of IRONMAN athletes is growing every year,” said IRONMAN Asia Managing Director Geoff Meyer. “We have been looking for the right partner to start our first event in South Asia and we are excited to work with Pro-Am Serendib (Pvt) Ltd to organize a great race in Colombo.”
The IRONMAN Triathlon is the top user-based sports brand in the world, according to the Global Triathlon Website, with a history that spans 37 years and over 260 events across 44 countries. However, none have been held in the South Asian region; making Sri Lanka the first in the region to host this event in 2018.

So far, over 470 athletes have registered, with 1,200 family and friends confirmed from 53 countries to attend the event. A minimum of 300 liaison officers and 100 officials from Sri Lanka will be trained to officiate, receiving training from experts while gaining international exposure within the country itself. This will build local capability and capacity to host international sporting events in Sri Lanka.

The event will also include a four-day expo with cultural activities that will be a part of the event to enhance the Sri Lanka brand. This expo will showcase Sri Lankan handicrafts, gems, jewellery, handloom products, spices and tea. It will also have the capacity to promote environmentally sustainable tourism, as IRONMAN events are environmentally-friendly and leave little or no carbon footprint.
Pro-Am Serendib stated that it was hopeful that IRONMAN 70.3 Colombo would become an annual event, putting Sri Lanka on the global triathlon map. The company hopes to hold a number of activities to promote the sport of triathlon in Sri Lanka, to eventually achieve at least 20% local representation at the event. The organizers claimed that the recent marathon, swimming and cycling events held on a smaller scale had revealed the market was ripe for an event of this magnitude. The goal is to make Sri Lanka the destination of choice for IRONMAN events in Asia, overtaking the Philippines, which is currently the leading destination in Asia for IRONMAN events.

Source : http://www.ceylontoday.lk/print20170401CT20170630.php?id=35213