In pictures: Sri Lanka’s captivating Colombo

Why should you go to Colombo? Well, why shouldn’t you? Source: Shutterstock.

SRI LANKA’S tourism board is ramping up efforts to ensure that tourists visit the island even during offseason.

In order to do so, its Tourism Promotion Bureau is casting its net far and wide to capture the attention of potential tourists in China, India, and the Middle East.

The Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau will be rolling out its first campaign from September to November before the winter starts, according to Tourism Minister John Amaratunga.

The mega campaign will promote special tour packages on offer during Sept 1, 2018, to Nov 30, 2018, to attract Chinese, Indian, and Middle Eastern tourists.

September to November is ordinarily a slow period for Sri Lanka, as the monsoon more or less affects the whole country. However, it’s not always predictable and sometimes it never comes at all.

Sri Lanka’s tourism industry was once heavily scarred by a 30-year civil conflict known as the Sri Lankan Civil War, which caused significant hardships for the population, environment, and the economy of the country.

Since signing a permanent cease-fire agreement in 2002, the country worked its way to becoming one of the leading industries.

However, in December 2004, the Indian Ocean tsunami struck Sri Lanka killing more than 35,000 people and left the country’s southern coastline looking like a wasteland.

It presented the Sri Lankan tourism industry with a substantial loss, estimated at US$250 million. This only meant that the nation had to be more resilient than ever in the recovery process.

Today, the country is dubbed as one of the world’s greatest tourist hot spots by several international publications.

Source: Shutterstock.

Thinking of planning a trip to Sri Lanka? Start with visiting its must-see historical capital and ocean city, Colombo.

Having been ruled successively by the Portuguese, Dutch, and British in the past, Colombo is blessed with architecture that represents the heritage of its previous rulers.

From mixed colonial buildings with high-rises to glossy new hotel complexes, to stylish galleries and shops and shopping malls, Colombo’s cosmopolitan side has a character like no other.

Food is in abundance as well, with restaurants serving up delicious local eats, carts selling a mouthwatering rainbow of street chow, and tiny convivial cafes offering great spaces to chat over coffee.

Source: Shutterstock.

Be sure to set out to explore on foot as well, as the island has been a center of Buddhist scholarship and learning, with around 6,000 Buddhist monasteries and approximately 15,000 monks.

One of the must-visit locations on Sri Lankan soil is the Gangaramaya Vihara, one of the most venerable temples in the country. Its beautiful facade has been decorated with wonderful brass work, stone carvings, and other Buddhist art.

The other is the sprawling Viharamahadevi Park, the oldest and largest park in Colombo. Named after named after Queen Viharamahadevi, the mother of King Dutugamunu who reigned from 161 BC to 137 BC, the park features a series of water fountains, a mini zoo, a children’s play area, and a giant Buddha statue.

But don’t just let us talk you through it. Take a look at what Sri Lanka’s captivating Colombo has to offer:

Meanwhile, according to recent statistics from Sri Lanka’s Tourism Ministry, tourist arrivals recorded a growth of 15.3 percent during the first half of 2018 compared to the same period last year.

If the mega campaign is successful, it will be repeated annually, and a similar campaign will be also launched from March to July.