Lazy summer days at the beach getting a tan are passé as Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Board ( SLTPB ) is marketing the country as an adventure destination with adventure seekers being identified as a potential growth market.
"Adventurous holidays are a rapidly growing trend in global tourism and an increasing number of travellers are seeking out new adventures like Sri Lanka having done the usual African Safaris," said SLTPB Managing Director, Dileep Mudadeniya.
"The adventure tag fits in very well to Sri Lanka given the number of fantastic adventure and wildlife activities we have on offer," he said.
Sri Lanka is a land where you can glimpse a wild elephant, gaze at the pristine grace of a leopard, see a nesting turtle lay its eggs on the beach or witness the dazzling display of peacock feathers. The country is blessed with an abundance of natural diversity despite its small size. This astounding diversity is largely due to its dramatically different terrains ranging from coastal plains to hill country and lush rainforests to arid dry zones.
Large areas rich in flora and fauna are conserved in 13 national parks across the country and over 100 other protected areas. This is not surprising given the country's 2000-year old history of conservation. What was probably the world's first wildlife sanctuary was created here in 3rd Century BC.
A trip to Sri Lanka's wildlife parks is memorable as one is greeted by the sounds of numerous birdcalls. As you enter a park with an expert tracker in a four-wheel drive vehicle, the jungle comes alive with a myriad sights, sounds and motions.
As the vehicle bumps along rutty jungle tracks, the scenery is constantly changing. Monkeys scamper across the path casting anxious glances at the vehicle. A peacock slowly opens its plumage and strikes up a regal pose for the cameras. A cuddly white rabbit hops into view, stops and looks enquiringly and disappears among the foliage just as quickly.
Wildlife and nature conservation in Sri Lanka has a long history. The country's traditional law has reference to forests where the felling of timber is prohibited. Ancient Sri Lanka also had reservoirs built in the forests so that wild animals would not need to enter human settlements in search of water.
There are many tanks and waterways in and around the wildlife parks of Sri Lanka and there are plenty of crocodiles in the water. Water Monitors, Iguanas and a variety of lizards also inhabit the jungles of Sri Lanka.
Sri Lanka has more than 950,000 hectares of national parks, sanctuaries and nature reserves. Popular among them are the Bundala National Park, Horton Plains, Kumana Bird Park, Sinharaja Forest, Wasgomuwa National Park, Wilpattu National Park and Yala National Park and the Habarana Safari Park.