As the tourism industry in Sri Lanka continues its rise as a major contributor to the national economy, an increasing source of employment and a major contributor to the development strategies of the country, the role of publicity to achieve this success is of considerable importance. A country that was known to the world for centuries through trade with the East and West, and as a centre of the Buddhist cultural and civilisation tradition, Sri Lanka moved into modern tourism with the passage of the Ceylon Tourist Board Act in 1966. In the 51 years since then, different sectors of the tourism industry have achieved remarkable success – with Travel Trade, Hotel Industry and Tourism Facilitation, making noteworthy progress.
Amidst this success, information and publicity that has played an essential role in the growth of the industry, and today, Travel Lanka, celebrating its 24th anniversary, stand out as the outstanding publication that has supported the tourism industry, through thick and thin, and remains the tourism publication with the widest regular reach and continued service to a steadily expanding industry – The monthly Information Digest on Sri Lanka.
The growth of tourism is seen by the arrival of more than two million visitors in 2016, and till June this year the arrivals had reached more than one million. Having served for almost half the 51 years of the formal tourism industry, Travel Lanka provides the most up-to-date information to visitors, updated every month, on all aspects of visitor attractions such as such as visitor attractions, accommodation – from hotels, guest houses, home stay, eco-tourism and nature resorts, to restaurants, shopping, entertainment and recreation facilities, serving the needs and answering the queries of visitors from countries far and wide.
Its 24 year record has seen Travel Lanka move with the ups and downs of tourism in the country. The most noteworthy of this being its uninterrupted publication during the worst years for the industry, during the height of the war of terrorism and separation, when the industry was down; and yet the publisher continued to provide the Tourism Promotion Bureau and hotels with the publication at no cost, managing its publication with very depleted advertising support. This service to the industry through shared hardship, when many in tourism looked at other investments, marks the outstanding commitment of Travel Lanka to the sustenance and growth of tourism.
In keeping with its mission of service, Travel Lanka remains topical with informative articles, good photographs and illustrations that interest the reader, elegant and pleasing advertising, with the best information to visitors backed by maps and guides to tourist locations, in the ancient cities, the beaches, and wildlife, too. Moving to digital communication Travel Lanka now has its website – travellanka.lk, which enables those planning visits to Sri Lanka to obtain information well in advance, complete with advice, tips and information, updated every month.
Travel Lanka brings out its publisher Piyaratne Hewabattage’s love for tourism, continuing from the days he was the Editor Designer of the Ceylon Tourist Board in the 1971s, when he designed most of the early publications on modern tourism in Sri Lanka, led by the first Editor, Neville Weerarane, that won many prizes from PATA and other international tourism development organisations. The design and production of Travel Lanka show the continuing skill of this international prize winner in creative art, print design and publication.
As it marks this 24th anniversary, Travel Lanka stands out as the most comprehensive and up-to-date information publication on tourism in Sri Lanka, enriching its record of contribution to the growth of the tourism industry, taking over the new challenges of a vastly expanding and increasingly diverse and colourful industry.