Promotion of Cultural Tourism in Sri Lanka with Special Reference to the North Central Province
Sri Lanka is an island in the Indian Ocean located to the south of India and separated from Indian subcontinent by a small straight. The island has been one of the major tourist attractions since antiquity. End of the protracted civil war is a blessing for the recent surge of tourist arrival and the rapid expansion of tourism facilities on the island. Although small, the island is rich in religious and cultural diversity with an immense attraction to the tourist. Buddhism is the main religion of the overwhelming majority of people even though Hinduism, Christianity and Islam are practiced side by side by several followers. The rich cultural heritage rotating around the religious practices, tolerance and beliefs ranges from historical monuments and ancient cities through meditation, yoga, folk music and dances, festivities, ceremonies and rituals. Special sites with multi-religious attractions reflect the diversity and uniqueness of a rich culture. North Central province is rich in religious and cultural resources than any other province in Sri Lanka. Only a small fraction of these vast resources has been utilized by the tourism industry so far. The promotion of the religious and cultural tourism products in the province will open new avenues for tourists as well as many people of the province.