Sri Lanka Calling Vol.03-No.19
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Refreshingly Sri Lanka Visit 2011  
  In a wave of praise and adulation that destination Sri Lanka has come to enjoy, the latest is from none other than National Geographic Travel, which names the island nation of verdant forests, soft sandy beaches, a cultural heritage which dates back to 3rd century B.C and a climate which ensures sunshine throughout the year and a cool get away hill country within a couple of hours reach by road in the alternative an hours reach by air, as one of six best destinations in the world to visit in 2012.

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  Wildlife cameraman and film Director Andrew Chastney, who counts over two decades of experience in working on wildlife filming, acclaims, speaking, of the experience in Sri Lanka at Yala, where he was able to see leopards at close quarters and in quick succession, as an incredible moment.

In Sri Lanka to grace the occasion of the opening of 'Yala's Chaaya Wild', Andrew, the Guest of Honour, was unqualified in his admiration "What I've seen in just two days is most extraordinary. Within an hour inside the park, a leopard walked towards us quite leisurely and that's a rarity." Andrew, who is also credited with the editing of the Big Cat Diaries, said it was the norm for him to follow the females, as they were more tolerant of vehicles. "The males are always elusive and if you're really fortunate, you may just glimpse them somewhere in the jungle. But here he was walking towards us, quite unperturbed."

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  On an initiative of the Ministry of Economic Development and taking in to consideration the important contribution made by the tourism industry to the national economy the University of Colombo has introduced a Masters Degree programme and a Post Graduate Diploma in Tourism, Economics and Hotel Management making a career in tourism attractive.

Fulfilling a long felt need of getting more professionals to join this fast developing industry, the new opportunities for further education and career advancement it is envisaged, will attract the more ambitious and talented to seek employment in tourism and related fields.

At present the Kelaniya University, Rajarata University and the Sabaragamuwa University conduct degree programmes in tourism studies at undergraduate level. Though tourism and tourism related study modules are a part of their Post Graduate or Masters level programmes, this is the first time that a programmes dedicated to tourism have been introduced at a University in Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka Tourism chairman Dr. Nalaka Godahewa addressing an inaugural ceremony said the objective of the Masters Degree programme is to provide the knowledge and skills in tourism, economics and hotel management to those whose activities will have a positive impact on development of the tourism industry in a sustainable manner.

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  New Zealand's senior out bound tourists are looking at new destinations says Calder & Lawson Tours, who goes on to say that there is a revolutionary change in destination choices with evidence pointing towards them looking further than the Gold Coast, a previous favourite, choice.

Calder & Lawson Tours General Manager, Catherine Gerbich, speaking of the change attributes it to the over 55's looking for more adventure. "Ten, or even as little as five years ago, older travellers were content with a two-week holiday on the Gold Coast. But, we are finding there is a major shift in the market away from traditional tourism spots over to more exotic destinations."

"In 2012, approximately 30% of our walking and travel & learn tours will take our guests to adventurous destinations like Sri Lanka, Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan," says Miss Gerbich.

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  Set amidst high rise buildings and neighbouring modern five star hotels, a majestic colonial building dating over 400 years is restored and now serves as a 'shopping precinct' – an oasis, in the busy Fort area where commercial activity is rife.

Constructed over four centuries ago, by the Dutch, to house patients, as the location is close to the harbour and passing ships en route to the far-east sought medical attention here. The restored building retains all of the Dutch architecture of the original –high ceilings, thick walls, large windows and terracotta tiled floors and is as solid today as then having withstood many vicissitudes.

This 17th century building, a beautiful landmark, now houses an exclusive crab restaurant, caf├ęs, a bar, shops and a spa. There is also Heladiv Tea Club, the pub -Work in Progress (WIP) and 'O' bar run by Lion Brewery while Barefoot, Colombo Jewellery Stores, Spa Ceylon and Odel have opened special outlets affording visitors to Colombo an opportunity to relax, enjoy refreshments and also make purchases all in one location.

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  The Times of India writer takes a long trip through Sri Lanka and writes a captivating story, which he begins with a road journey down south, where he speaks of Sri Lanka's much publicised 'clean blue sea coast' and goes on to describe spice gardens, rainforest wild life reserves and more.

Of a trip completed in 10 days which covered the World Heritage sites, and much of the hill country, the writer has seen most of the attractions and writes in full detail of his trip which has "Cut through the length and breadth of the small south-Asian island."

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  The Sri Lankan Embassy in Vienna and the consular office in Croatia recently held a business corporation event to coincide with Ambassador A L A Azeez presenting his credentials to the President of Croatia Ivo Joispovic.

Representatives of the chambers of commerce, government ministries, and private sector organizations were well represented and the opportunities for trade and tourism promotion between the two counties were detailed by the honorary council for Sri Lanka in Croatia, Marko Vojkovic with a particular emphasis on the Sri Lanka Expo-2012, to be held in Colombo from 28th to 30th March 2012.

Ambassador Azeez made a presentation on the economic development activities that are now taking place in post conflict Sri Lanka and the socio economic progress of the people of Sri Lanka.

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  Please note that a major web upgrading initiative of Sri Lanka Tourism is also underway. We call on all tourism industry stakeholders to keep sending us snippets of news so we could include them in the weekly newsletters, we will bring to you on an improved format.

Sri Lanka Tourism wishes to thank all stakeholders for their wonderful support and assistance and wishes to invite them to get involved with 'Sri Lanka calling'.

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