Monday, 18 March marked the second successful day of the tourism campaign, in the ‘Venice of the North’. St. Petersburg was built to be Russia’s window on Europe. Now, it is becoming the world’s window on Russia. Coming by train, plane and cruise ship, almost six million tourists have visited St. Petersburg this year. That is more than the tourist flow to Moscow, the nation’s business and government capital.
With its waterways and canals, St. Petersburg has long been called the ‘Venice of the North.’ Now, with visitors outnumbering inhabitants, Russia’s second-largest city may one day rival Italy’s Venice in tourism flow. St. Petersburg recently opened the world’s largest cruise ship port of call, capable of handling seven ships at a time.
The major events of the day were the cultural show ‘Sri Lanka Night’ and photo exhibition held at Moscow Hotel, Saint Petersburg. The cultural show of three hours performed by the Dance Guild of the maestro Chandana Wickramasinghe, enthralled and pleased the audience with many a traditional dancing, drum fusion, mask dancing, drum orchestra and medley of folk songs.
The photo exhibition of 120 photos covered the visits of Mahinda Rajapaksa, President of Sri Lanka to the Russian Federation, Ukraine and Republic of Kazakhstan. It also covers major tourist destinations of the country namely Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa, Dambulla, Kandy, Sigiriya, Pinnawela and Nuwara Eliya, along with scenic and pristine beaches along both Western and Eastern coasts, Sri Lankan cuisine, traditional dancing and wildlife.
The Embassy of the Sri Lanka in the Russian Federation with the support of the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau has organised this three week tourism promotional campaign, the Mega Tourism Road Show in the Russian Federation and Ukraine covering Moscow, St. Petersburg and Kiev.
In promoting the tourism industry in the country, the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau takes the lead among the others with having two main objectives of marketing and promoting of Sri Lanka directly or indirectly as a tourist and travel destination of quality in accordance with the tourism development plan in consultation with the authority and promoting Sri Lanka as a gateway to the South Asian regions, and making Sri Lanka known as the centre of excellence in tourism management and development in the region. The Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau is the institute responsible for all marketing and promotional functions of Sri Lanka, which is also responsible for overseas marketing and promotional functions.
Siddhalepa is also a major participant in the campaign, which is the trademark of an herbal balm that is believed to help to relieve body aches and pains. With a sum of Rs. 2,500, ayurvedic doctor Victor Hettigoda began production of the balm in 1971. Dr. Hettigoda had spent 12 years under his father’s tutelage learning the secrets of ayurveda.
Hettigoda first sold the product by travelling around the country convincing boutique owners and small retailers that it was genuine. Victor Hettigoda’s dynamism knew no limits. He travelled to every remote village in Sri Lanka to promote the Siddhalepa balm. His tireless efforts were ultimately rewarded. Today, his company is a resounding success with a global network.