Excursion to Sri Lanka 2015

On March 17th 2015 our group of 18 TDS master’s students accompanied by 2 students from other degree courses as well as Prof. Dr. Thomas Rasmussen embarked on a journey to Sri Lanka. After leaving Stralsund at around 9 am, one day later, on March 18th at around the same time we finally landed in Colombo. Here, at the airport, we were greeted by our local tour guide Mr. Sudusinghe from the tour operator “JourneyScapes”. As soon as we stepped outside we got hit by the wave of heat - we arrived in the hottest time of the year in Sri Lanka.

After being greeted by our tour guide and Sri Lanka’s hot sun, despite the exhaustion, we went directly to our first business meeting that took place at “JourneyScapes”. Here we were given an informative presentation about the company, its activities and challenges, and discussed relative issues in tourism of Sri Lanka. Afterwards, we were invited to enjoy some tea and pastries. As soon as we parted with “JourneyScapes”, we went to our next business meeting at the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce. Even though we were all tired and had some trouble getting used to the different climate, the meeting was really enjoyable due to a very interesting presentation and discussion with the company’s representatives. We got to taste the real Ceylon tea the way the locals drink it and we got the chance to observe the Ceylon Tea Auction that was in the middle of a session. Later, after the meeting ended, we drove to our first hotel - the Mount Lavinia Hotel - where we had a nice dinner at the beautiful beach and finally got our long awaited rest.

The next day, on March 19th, we had a business meeting at the German Embassy. Here we obtained a lot of interesting information about the economic and political situation in Sri Lanka, relevant issues and challenges as well as the relationship between Sri Lanka and Germany. We also got to meet two German students that were doing their internships in the Embassy and learn more about the life in Sri Lanka. Later, after the meeting, we had some leisure time to get to know the local surroundings and taste some local cuisine.

On March 20th we had an appointment that took place at the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH. He we were given an interesting presentation about the organization and its activities as well as its projects in Sri Lanka.

 

After the meeting, our tour guide, Mr. Sudusinghe, took us on the tour of Colombo. There we got to visit a local market and ride a train through Colombo.

On Saturday, March 21st, we left Colombo and proceeded to Sigiriya. On the way we visited the Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage and got to see many elephants bathing in the river. Towards the evening we arrived to our hotel in Sigiriya. The Sigiriya Hotel was located in the jungle with monkeys running around the hotel grounds and it had the most amazing view of the Sigiriya Rock Fortress.

The next morning we climbed what seemed like a million stairs to get on the top of the Sigiriya Rock Fortress. Once we reached the top, the most amazingly magical view of the huge jungle opened up for us. It was like standing on the top of the world. Later that same day we enjoyed the exclusive jeep safari at Minneriya/Kaudulla National Park, where we got to see the wild life of Sri Lanka.

On Monday, March 23rd, we continued our trip by going to Kandy. On the way we visited the Golden Temple of Tambulla and, later on, the spice plantation in Matale. Here we got to see how different spices grow and learn to recognize the quality of the product that comes out of them, be able to tell a bad quality or a fake product on the market. Afterwards we got to enjoy some massage using the locally produced oils and taste some local cuisine cooked to us by our tour guide, Mr. Sudusinghe. Later, towards the evening we arrived to the hotel Topaz, located on the hill with an amazing view of the Kandy city.

On the next day, March 24th, we went on an interesting cultural excursion around Kandy, where we visited four different Temples, including the most beautiful Temple of Tooth. Later on we had some leisure time to be able to explore the Kandy city by ourselves.

On Wednesday, March 25th, we had a business meeting at the “MAS”, which is a company that produces intimate wear, swimwear and sportswear for such companies like Nike, Victoria’s Secret, Triumph and others, and is located in the free trade zone. Here we obtained a lot of very interesting information about the company itself as well as its activities, its innovative supply chain - and HR management as well as its sustainability. We were given a tour of the company’s departments where we were shown and explained how each stage of production works, how it is managed and innovated.

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Afterwards, we were invited for lunch where we discussed various aspects of the company’s innovative and sustainable activities. After the meeting ended, we continued our trip to Galle. There our tour guide, Mr. Sudusinghe, took us on a beautiful sightseeing tour of the historic Galle Fort and, later, to the Jetwing Lighthouse Hotel, where we stayed.

The next day we had some leisure time to explore the Jetwing Lighthouse hotel and the city of Galle. In the evening we had an informative business meeting with the hotel’s front office manager. We were given a presentation about the Jetwing company and its hotel chain as well as other activities. Afterwards we had an interesting discussion about various issues and development of the hospitality industry in Sri Lanka.

On Friday, March 27th, we continued on to Negombo. Here we stayed in and got to know one more of the Jetwing hotels - the Jetwing Blue. It is located directly at the beautiful huge beach and was the perfect place for our last day in Sri Lanka. The rest of the day we had leisure time to enjoy the hotel and explore the city of Negombo. We were preparing to leave the next day and it seemed like Sri Lanka got almost as sad as we did about leaving and dropped some tears - it got darker and started raining. In the evening our tour guide, Mr. Sudusinghe, gathered us all and showed us the photo slideshow he had prepared for us of the best moments of our trip. It was a nice way to say goodbye to this great experience and wish to come back once again in the future bringing other people with to explore Sri Lanka and see how much it has to offer.

The whole trip has left us with so many great emotions, beautiful memories and, most importantly, the knowledge, experience and information obtained directly and exclusively from the organizations and companies itself.

Thank you for this exciting and enriching academic excursion!

Viktorija Sirvinskyte, Tourism Development Strategies, 2nd Semester