By Cheranka Mendis
Some 45 foreigners from 20 nationalities will be traversing the island in three-wheelers starting 31 August taking part in the 12 day Lanka Challenge organised by Large Minority for the fourth consecutive year.
An innovative promotion model for Sri Lanka through adventure tourism, Lanka Challenge will take the participants to Jaffna for the first time covering Kalpitiya, Wilpaththu, Trincomalee and Wasgamuwa on the way.
“Jaffna being a wild, adventurous and a less travelled territory we expect this year’s challenge to be a unique one,” Partners and Organisers of Large Minority Juan Goicochea and Julian Carnall said.
Key target markets for the event are UK, New Zealand, South Africa, UAE and Australia. This year the challenge will also have three teams of celebrities from Denmark which includes actors, DJs, comedians and models, Goicochea said. “They are filming a reality TV show of eight episodes which will be aired in TV2 Zulu in Denmark to Scandinavian audiences like Norway and Sweden.”
Covering approximately 120 km a day, the total area kilo meters to be covered is 1,390. Participants will face various cultural and social challenges during the course of the event.
“Such events are of vital importance for the tourism industry,” Sri Lanka Tourism Director General Vipula Wanigasekera said. Recalling the first Lanka Challenge in 2009, Wanigasekera noted that the event has come a long way creating not just a tourism product but a brand for adventure tourism. “At a time we are looking to hit one million tourists by the end of the year, such events will give the necessary boost and promotion to the country.
With ‘responsible tourism’ being a key focus of the event, the organisers will donate 10% of the entrance fee to varied charity projects that has been aligned with the event. A total of US$ 8000 has been collected so far of which part will be given directly to Red Cross Society of Sri Lanka. Some of the funds will also be contributed to fund local responsible tourism according to Carnall who said, “We are looking forward to continue supporting local communities at grass route level through our initiatives. This year we will contribute funds to local schools in different provinces through facelift improvement, resource donation and tree planting activities.” He added that the teams are encouraged to raise at least US$ 500 each additionally to be used for their proffered charities in the country.”