Hon. Minister of Tourism, Prasanna Ranatunga said that selecting Sri Lanka to hold the Raid Amazones adventure program will send a positive message to the world that Sri Lanka is a safe destination.
The Minister mentioned this while participating at the inauguration of the Raid Amazone adventure program which commenced in Sigiriya today (16th March 2022).
600 athletes take part in the Raid Amazones adventure event, the largest tourism event in the country since the Covid -19 pandemic. The first half of the two-stage tournament will be held from the 14th to the 22nd while the second half will be held from the 28th to the 6th of April. The tournament will be held in Kaudulla, Medirigiriya, Wewala, Kandalama, Sigiriya and Mahawilgamuwa areas.
The first stage will feature 253 contestants and 63 staff, while the second round will feature 216 contestants, also including 63 staff members . The crew includes six doctors, a rescue crew, rescue swimmers, photographers and videographers.
As a popular annual adventure sports competition that originated in France, the tournament includes running, rowing, mountain biking, mapping and compass-assisted cross-country skiing, and archery. Sri Lankan Airlines is the host airline for this year’s tournament and the theme icon is Sigiriya. A special uniform has been designed especially for this purpose highlighting the unique features of Sigiriya Fort. Sri Lankan Airlines has decorated a special aircraft to bring foreign athletes to Sri Lanka to participate in the tournament.
Speaking further at the inauguration ceremony, Tourism Minister Hon . Prasanna Ranatunga said,
‘’Selecting Sri Lanka for this program sends a message to the world that Sri Lanka is a safe destination for tourists. Such programs as these provide an opportunity to attract a global audience to Sri Lanka and to attract tourists to Sri Lanka from Europe and beyond .
Certain issues in the country have affected the tourism industry. However, necessary steps have already been taken to resolve these issues and restore the country back to normal. Therefore, it will not affect the tourism industry. It has been decided to give priority in refueling vehicles used for tourist transportation. There are requests to remove tourist zones from power cuts. The government has already resorted to such measures.
When the Easter attack and the Covid -19 crisis hit our tourism industry, we opened up the country to according to the necessary health guide lines. Within a few months of opening the country, we were able to bring the country to a point where 100,000 tourists would visit the country every month.
We recently went on an overseas tour of France. At that time Sri Lankan Airlines joined hands with us to take this tournament to Sri Lanka. The selection of athletes for this competition is done through a program. During that program there was a lot of publicity about Sri Lanka. If we did such a promotion it would cost a lot of money. We also get revenue because they chose Sri Lankan Airlines. It’s a tournament consisting of females. In a few days their families will come to this country with their families.
Also, due to the war situation in Russia and Ukraine, our focus is on attracting tourists from the Middle East and India to Sri Lanka in the future. We also look forward to organizing promotional programs in countries such as Australia, New Zealand and Canada’’ he further said.