The Colombo's first ever open deck city tour service took off last Sunday, 24 January from Galle Face Hotel premises. Hon. Achala Suranga Jagoda, Minister of Tourism, was the chief guest at the launching ceremony. Both Visiting foreign and local tourists along with the invitees participated in this inaugural journey.
This tour service is a new product launch of the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) in public- private partnership with Ebert Silva Holidays (Pvt.) Ltd. The city tour will be operated initially on Sundays.
'As time goes by the service will be increased to a number of days and it depends on the popularity' said Malraj Kiriella, the Director, International Relations and Research of the SLTDA, who spearheaded the project.
We are on the threshold of a new era in travel and tourism in Sri Lanka. This will be a great experience for the tourists visiting the city of Colombo. We have come out of a dark era and foresee a golden age for Sri Lanka tourism' opined Mr. K.A.D George Michael, Secretary, Ministry of Tourism at the ceremony.
The tour will commence at the Galle Face Hotel premises at 8.30hrs and en route collect passengers at points in front of leading hotels in Slave Island and Fort. The seven hour tour would include the important attractions in Colombo City and Sri Jayewardenepura, Kotte. There will be live commentaries on all surrounding attractions by a professional guide in English. Information leaflets will be made available in important foreign languages and in local languages in addition to English.
The open deck bus hired from the Sri Lanka Transport Board will give passengers a panoramic view of the city of Colombo, old and new.
'Research has shown that Colombo is the most popular place of attraction, and introduction of this service has been a long-felt need and will enable many foreign visitors embark on a journey that covers the best in Colombo with less cost and time' said Kiriella.
The visiting sites would include historic Buddhist, Hindu, Christian and Islamic religious sites, colonial heritages sites, Independence Square, National Museum and 'Janakala Kendraya' (National Arts and Crafts Centre in Battaramulla). The entire sightseeing would include most of the attractions in Colombo and in Sri Jayewardenepura, Kotte.
The bus is decorated depicting attractions of Colombo. The specially designed logo 'Colombo City Tour' includes frangipani flowers to emphasize its connectivity with the city of Colombo and serendipity.
The organizers have worked out a special introductory rate for Sri Lankan adults and children at Rs.950.00 and Rs.500.00 respectively, which includes lunch, refreshments and entrance fees.
Rajini de Silva Mendis, Managing Director, Ebert Silva said ' We are happy to join hands with the public sector on this initiative and hope to offer customers an unforgettable experience with our years of experience in the field'.