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‘Visit Kelaniya 2016’ to boost cultural diversity

26 November 2015 02:58 am - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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By Kamanthi Wickramasinghe
Sri Lanka Tourism expects to improve the density of tourism in Kelaniya, Colombo during the period of the Duruthu Perahera which falls in January. 

According to a concept by the Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, Sri Lanka Tourism has focussed on developing sustainable and steady inroads to boost tourist arrivals in 2016 giving prominence to Sri Lankan Culture and Heritage. Speaking at a press conference Chairman, Sri Lanka Tourism, Paddy Withana, Chief Basnayake Nilame, Kelaniya Raja Maha Viharaya, Dhammika Atigala and many other dignitaries stressed on the importance of promoting this event.

The Kelaniya Raja Maha Viharaya dates back to over 2,500 years and it is a sacred place of worship which celebrates the Duruthu perahera annually and next year the temple will celebrate its 89th Annual perahera in a grand scale. Promoting religious tourism among the target markets is a key focus strategy in Sri Lanka Tourism. In addition to the existing heritage and cultural sites of the country, the festive theme has created brilliant opportunities to promote the existing religious festivals of Sri Lanka. 

Chairman of the Tourism Promotions Bureau Paddy Withana said, “Promoting the perahera can be simply directed towards religious and cultural dimensions of tourism based on its religious value for Buddhists around the world as well as for explorers and researchers from the West. Some of the objectives of promoting the Duruthu Perahera internationally are to create awareness about the perahera and promote a religious and cultural tourism event to attract quality travellers to Sri Lanka, to celebrate the common heritage and strengthen the historic relationship between other Buddhist countries through multi-dimensional initiatives in art, culture, education, technology, tourism, business and other areas and to promote and facilitate the visit of tourists and pilgrims to the historical and religious sites of Sri Lanka.”

Promotions will be categorized as global and local and the global promotions will have a cultural as well as religious focus thereby inviting visitors from Netherlands, UK, Germany, France and Australia, India, Japan, Loas, Myanmar, Taiwan and many other countries. Local promotions will target Sri Lankans and tourists already in the island. it has been estimated that 6 percent of the global population are Buddhist and therefore there are over 400 million Buddhists around the world. Sri Lanka is a country with the largest number of Buddhist temples in the world and each temple conducts an annual procession every year specially based on Poya and Vas observation ending ceremony. Peraheras can create steady inroads to research tourism inviting all cultural, religious and creative researchers who are interested in exploring the multi-cultural diversity in the island.
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