Sri Lanka

“Japan is an important presence” and industry cooperation to revive the tourism industry – Mr. Sanjeev Gunasekara, Sri Lankan Ambassador to Japan | The latest information on tourism Travel Vision

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Beautiful nature and rich culture, focus on educational travel after COVID-19

Sri Lanka is known as the “Pearl of the Indian Ocean” for its rich and beautiful natural scenery. Tourism is booming, and despite a resumption of tourist arrivals in January, conditions have been up and down, with lockdowns reimposed as the number of coronavirus infections rose. We asked Mr. Sanjeev Gunasekara, the ambassador to Japan, and he said that Japan is an important country with a large number of individual tourists.

Sri Lankan Ambassador to Japan Sanjeev Gunasekara

– First, please introduce Sri Lanka.

Mr. Sanjeev GunasekaraSri Lanka is an island south of India that is characterized by a rich culture, biodiversity and a hospitable national character. The country is about 3,000 years old and is said to have been visited by the Buddha three times. Small in size, you can visit the main sights in two or three days if you want.

The Sigiriya Rock, one of the eight world heritage sites in Sri Lanka, is also known as the “Eighth Wonder of the World”. A royal palace was built on it in the late 5th century. Inside there are the remains of the pool where the king bathed, the throne and the mural “Lady of Sigiriya” painted with natural materials.

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Surrounded by the sea, Sri Lanka has many beautiful beaches and is popular with surfers. It is also a place where you can watch whales and dolphins at the same time, which is rare in the world. More than 10% of the country’s land is covered by national parks, and the rate of encounters with elephants in safari parks ranks first in the world. In addition, there is a hilly area in the middle of the island, and beautiful tea plantations are scattered on the hillside.

Another thing we cannot forget is that it is the country of Ayurveda. Ayurveda is a medical system that originated in India and developed in Sri Lanka. There are also specialized universities and research institutes. In the Ayurvedic facility, we use natural ingredients without chemical agents for treatments under the guidance of doctors.

The best are people. Japan and Sri Lanka have many things in common, such as Buddhism. The spirit of sharing is rooted in Sri Lanka, and I feel the same when I come to Japan. I believe this commonality binds the two countries together.

-Please introduce yourself.

GunasekaraI was born in Colombo, got a scholarship from a university in Sri Lanka, and then went to a university in the US. A university major in International Relations and Economics, he continued his career in the US and started his own business in 2001. In addition to his business, he focuses on social activities that give back to the country, such as building homes for victims of the Sumatra earthquake and building a Buddhist temple in Los Angeles.

I am currently retired from the business world and took up the post of Ambassador of Sri Lanka to Japan in January this year. In fact, I most want to be an ambassador to Japan because I have learned about Japanese history and culture, and I feel that the relationship between the two is a connection between people without benefits. I want to use my experience so far to promote trade and rebuild relations to take the relationship between our two countries to a higher level.

– In Sri Lanka, I think tourism and other services are heavily weighted, but what about the impact of the coronavirus?

GunasekaraSri Lanka has a population of approximately 21 million, of which 3 million are directly or indirectly engaged in tourism. Since it is an important industry in the country, various support programs are being implemented. In addition, not only the tourism industry, but also individuals are given benefits based on a monthly income of up to 5,000 rupees.

Before COVID-19, it was receiving about 200,000 visitors per month and 23 million visitors per year, but that has all but stopped. In February and March this year, there were about 2,000 people a month, which is a huge loss.

Although the border has been opened since January 21, it is currently required to be quarantined for 14 days after entry (editorial note: as of early June). We hope to have vaccinations and ease entry restrictions within 3 months. Specifically, if you have been vaccinated, you will be transferred to an isolation facility after entry and undergo PCR testing.

Next page>>> English education is also popular in Sri Lanka

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