Excursion: Sri Lanka, May 2014
Tourism Development Studies
After an exhausting journey of more than 30 hours we, ten students from the bachelor degree course LTM and ten students from the master’s degree course TDS, Ms. Wallenburger and Prof. Dr. Rasmussen, arrived at the airport in Colombo, the capital city of Sri Lanka on May 7th. We were welcomed by our tour guide, Mr. Kingsley and brought to our first stop, the Mount Lavinia Hotel in Mount Lavinia.
In the next morning our first fist business meeting with our tour operator “JourneyScapes” took place. We obtained valuable information about the company itself, its tasks as a tour operator and about the destination Sri Lanka. After an interective presentation we were offered some tea, coffee and pastries. Our next appointment took place at “PwC”. Here, an interesting discussion about the tourism development of Sri Lanka started so that we could gain a better understanding about the needs and challenges of the country. In the evening we ate typical Sri Lankan Curry with Rice for the first time.
On Friday, 9 May, our first business meeting took place in the German Embassy. Here, we obtained information about the economic situation in Sri Lanka. Because of the ambassador and his trainee coming from Germany, we were able to get a clear picture about Sri Lanka and its development as well as about the cooperation between both countries.
The second meeting was at the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce. We were put into the position to first of all learn about the objectives of a Chamber of Commerce in general. Secondly we were provided with information about the trade of Sri Lankan tea, herbals and spices. Our third and last business meeting at this day was at the Sri Lankan Promotion Tourism Bureau. At the beginning we were given a presentation about Sri Lanka’s various facets by the Marketing Director. In-between even the Chairman of the company gave us the great pleasure to join our business meeting and to discuss the tourism development. After an exhausting day we relaxed in the beach bar.
On 10th May, we started to discover the wonderful country in more detail and drove on to Sigiriya. On our way to the next destination we stopped to go on safari.
There we got the wonderful and outstanding possibility to see peafowls, eagles, monkey and many elephants. In the evening we arrived at the Sigiriya Hotel which was located in the jungle.
The next morning we were woken up by loud trampling. Luckily there were monkeys on the roof. After the breakfast we made our way to the Sigiriya Rock. We had to climb 1200 stairs but the view we had on top, was totally worth it. In the noon we had the choice of riding elephants or getting a traditional herbal massage. At first many of us took part in the elephant ride. Each of us even got the possibility to ride on the elephant’s neck. After the ride almost everyone wanted to get another experience and enjoyed a herbal massage. It was really relaxing after the exhausting climbing on the Sigiriya Rock.
On Monday we drove to the next city, Kandy. On our way to the Hotel Thilanka we stopped to visit the Temple of Dambulla. An additional stop was at a garden with herbals and spices, where we were introduced to different spices. In the evening we all went to a dance event, where we got to know different traditional dances. After that we visited the Temple of Tooth Relict and got the possibility to see a traditional service.
On the next day we were put into the position to further explore the culture of Sri Lanka. We visited three different Buddhist temples. There our tour guide, Mr. Kingsley provided us with information about the main religions of the Sri Lankans. After visiting the Temples we went to a botanical garden, in which we spend our noon with exploring plants and animals. In the afternoon we got the possibility to visit Kandy where we even went to a traditional city market. There we were able to recognize where and how Sri Lankans buy their food or clothes. In the evening most of us took a Tuck-Tuck to enjoy the ride and to go back to the Hotel.
On our way to Gallew we made a stop at a tea factory. Did you know that Sri Lanka is the world's leading exporter of tea? At the factory we learned how the traditional black tea, the Ceylon tea, is made. Our 2nd stop was at an elephant orphanage, where we were able to watch many elephants taking a bath in a river.
The 14th of May is a traditional Sri Lankan holiday. On this day many lights are hung up on the streets and there are fireworks taking place. In the evening we had the chance to explore the city and the lights on our own.
On Wednesday we had our business meeting with the heads of our Hotel, the Jetwing Lighthouse Hotel. We gathered information about the chain “Jetwing”, it's strategies, objectives in respect of a sustainable development as well as prospects about tourism in Sri Lanka. The environmental officer even made it possible that we could help to set free one day old turtle babies the foundation saved from tourists and animals.
On our last day we visited a sustainability project, which is supported by TUI. We followed a presentation about Sri Lanka’s biodiversity as well as enjoyed a boat trip on a river. We could marvel at traditional mangroves and could even see a big monitor lizard. In the afternoon we arrived in Negombo, our last destination. We spend our last evening in the city and at the beach. Later on the entire group and professors came together for a farewell.
In Sri Lanka we were able to broaden our horizon. We obtained a wide variety of information about the companies we visited, the culture, the religion, the Sri Lankans themselves and of course about Sri Lanka as a destination. I think nobody regrets taking part in this excursion and everybody would highly recommend it or do it again. Many thanks for our professors to make such an unique excursion possible.
Judith Kleinsorge, Leisure and Tourism Management, 2nd Semester