Saturday, March 06, 2010

Sri Lanka's former war zone highlighted in travel guide

Two British travel writers have published a guide book on tourist attractions in Sri Lanka's former war zone in the north and east, now accessible to the visitors after 30 years of conflict.

Juliet Coombe, a photojournalist for the BBC Lonely Planet guide book, and her co-writer Daisy Perry spent six months roaming through areas which were once strongholds of Tamil Tiger separatist rebels.

The region became accessible after government forces crushed the Tigers in May 2009, ending three decades of war and resulting in a revival in travel to the island.

The guide book, which also covers the island's central hills, famous for its tea plantations, highlights the beaches, ruins and wildlife parks that for long were out of bounds for visitors.

Coombe says she traveled with her one month old baby as her 'chief negotiator' in gaining access to the north and the east where the security was still tight even after the end of the war.

Starting from the busy capital Colombo, and on to the ancient cities in central Sri Lanka and the former war zone the book covers a wide array of information with words and photographs by Coombe.

Dileep Mudadeniya, Managing Director of the Tourism Promotions Bureau, said the guide book has new content and a new approach to Sri Lankan tourism.

“After a 30-year conflict the entire country is open for tourism. When the country is open, it is very important for us to have material to know where to go and how to get there."

Coombe says her fascination with Sri Lanka’s North and East, began with an interest in the northern Jaffna library, which was destroyed during the war.

As seven-year-old child and an avid reader, she had read about the library and since then been fascinated with coming to Sri Lanka in order to immerse herself in the many books the library offered.

'Sri Lanka's other half; a guide to the Central, Eastern and Northern Provinces' is now available to the public from the Ministry of Tourism and bookshops in the country.

© Lanka Business Online

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