International Tourist Guide Day – 2020

Proposing Parakrama Samudraya
as a World Heritage Site

The International Tourist Guide Day was celebrated at the Sri Lanka Institute of Tourist Guide Lecturers (SLINTGL) with an event centred around the proposal to have Parakrama Samudraya declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The ingenious reservoir, considered the apex of Sri Lanka’s ancient irrigation system, was built in the 12th century CE in the then capital city of Polonnaruwa, located in north-central Sri Lanka.

Invitees to the Head Table:

  • President of SLINTGL – Dr. Mahesh Priyadarshana
  • President of Sri Lanka Inbound Tour Operators (SLAITO) – Mr. Maheen Kariyawasan
  • Asst. Secretary General of UNA – Dr. Kamal Abeywardane
  • Director HR, Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) – Mr. Mihira Liyanarachchi
  • Board Director, SLTDA – Mr.Thilak Weerasinghe
  • Director General, Central Cultural Fund (CCF) – Prof. Gamini Adikari

Participants:

Students from University college Anuradhapura, Hiking and Trekking team, Officers from the Department of Archaeology, President of the Chauffeur Guide Association and 46 NTGLs.

Programme:

  • National Anthem.
  • Moment of Appreciation.
  • Theme Song of the SLINTGL.                                                       
  • Lighting the Oil Lamp.
  • Mr. Dodangoda invited the President of SLINTGL Dr. Mahesh Priyadarshana for welcome Speech and introduction of WTGD.
  • Speech by Treasurer of SLINTGL, Mr. Priyalal Malevirachchi.
  • Message of Chairperson of SLTDA by Director HR, Mr.Mihira Liyanarachchi.
  • Speech by President of SLAITO, Mr. Maheen Kariyawasam.
  • “Evolution of Water Management System from “Wapi” to “Samudra”, Mr. Indika Manawadu.
  • “Why Parakrama Samudra has to be declared as a World Heritage Site” by Mr. Sunil Gunathilake.
  • “Socio economic benefits of declaring Parakrama Samudraya as a World Heritage Site”  Ms. Sasankaa Gunathilke.
  • Conclusion speech by Director General of CCF, Prof. Gamini Adikari.
  • Vote of Thanks by Treasurer of SLINTGL, Mr. Priyalal Maleviarachchi.
  • Program conclusion.

    The Director General of the Central Cultural Fund promised to organize meetings at SLINTGL with the officials of the World Heritage Sites in Sri Lanka for building up the mutual understanding between both parties.

    The program ended successfully, commemorating the ITGD 2020 and proposing Parakrama Samudraya as a World Heritage Site. The request was handed over to the Director General of CCF and to the Asst. Secretary General of UNA, who are on the accreditation board of UNESCO.

Parakrama Samudra and its unique water management system as a solution for impacts of global warming. Let’s make it a World Heritage Site.

Theme for ITGD 2020- Tourist Guides: Contributors to Sustainable Tourism & Jobs

History of water management in Sri Lanka goes back to 8th century BC where primitive micro irrigation system appeared for the first time. The first technically feasible tank was built by king Pandukaabhaya in 4th century BC and it is called as Abhaya wewa or Basawakkulama.

 Building large sized reservoirs had been started in the 1st century B.C. during the reign of King Wasabha (67 – 111 BC). He has built 11 large reservoirs and two irrigation canals. It was followed by many small and medium size tanks that built all over the island. By the 3rd century, King Mahasen built 16 large reservoirs including Minneriya,Kaudulla ,Kanthale, Nachchiduwa and Mahakanadharawewa  in Anuradhapura. These huge reservoirs were supported with a complex network of river diversions and miles long man-made channel systems.

Kalawewa was built during the reign of king Dhathusena in 5th century and the tradition of building lakes and water management continued to the Polonnaruwa period where it reached to its climax.

During the Anuradhapura period, the lakes were built based on the concept of “wapi” where the sole purpose of the lakes were to provide water for the agriculture. The lakes became more sophisticated in technology in the reign of King Parakramabahu the Great and the concept of “Samudra” s evolved. A “Samudra” was versatile in contributing to the protection of the capital of the kingdom, and most importantly to maintain the water table at a higher level which enable the development of a self-sufficient economy in ancient Sri Lanka. Simply, the Samudra concept was the unseen foundation of the “granary and greenery of East”.

Awareness Discussion with SLTDA Officials

An awareness discussion on the menace of unauthorised guiding services was held at the Sri Lanka Institute of National Tourist Guide Lecturers (SLINTGL) on 02nd January 2020. Mrs. Kimarli Fernando (new Chairperson of the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority – SLTDA), Mrs. Chandani Werapitiya (new Director General of SLTDA), Mr. Upali Ratnayake (former Director General of SLTDA), Mr. Dhammika Kasthurimudali (Chief of the SLTDA Investigation Unit), Mr. Prabath Vidanagama (Officer in Charge of Tourist Police) and members of SLINTGL took part in the discussion.

Dr. Mahesh Priyadarshana, President of SLINTGL, started off the proceedings with a presentation on the history of SLINTGL and the current problems faced by its members, who are National Tourist Guide Lecturers, or NTGLs – the highest category of tour guides in the country, licensed by SLTDA to operate on an island-wide basis. Dr. Priyadarshana pointed out how the in-depth training received by NTGLs and the ongoing skills-development efforts of SLINTGL to further uplift the standards of its members are being undermined by unauthorised guiding services being offered in various parts of the country. During the question-and-answer session that followed, some members drew the attention of the authorities to how the image of the country is being tarnished by the misinformation provided by untrained foreigners who happen to guide certain tour groups.

The officials gave a keen ear to the grievances aired by the members of SLINTGL and promised to continue the dialogue with SLINTGL in the future formulation and implementation of regulations. The Chairperson explained how she intends to take positive measures to open up new vistas in the tourism industry, in keeping with the vision of the new administration of the country. The former and new DGs presented their intended plans of action meant for the betterment of the industry. The law-enforcement officials clarified the legal aspects of undesirable practices like illegal guiding and suggested a joint action plan to tackle such cases.

SLINTGL hopes that the new rapport with the authorities will lead to better co-operation, which will enable us to find common ground in the interest of the tourism industry.

Photo credit: Sam Casseer (member of SLINTGL)

Dr. Mahesh Priyadarshana, President of SLINTGL, making his keynote presentation
Mrs. Kimarly Fernando, Chairperson of SLTDA, delivering her speech
Mrs. Kimarly Fernando, Chairperson of SLTDA, and members of SLINTGL
Mrs. Chandani Werapitiya, Director General of SLTDA, delivering her speech
Mr. Upali Ratnayake, former Director General of SLTDA, making his presentation
Mr. Dhammika Kasthurimudali, Chief of the SLTDA Investigation Unit, delivering his speech
Mrs. Kimarly Fernando, Chairperson of SLTDA and Mrs. Chandani Werapitiya, Director General of SLTDA
Mr. Upali Ratnayake, former Director General of SLTDA, Mr. Prabath Vidanagama, Officer in Charge of Tourist Police and Mr. Dhammika Kasthurimudali, Chief of the SLTDA Investigation Unit
Dr. Mahesh Priyadarshana, President of SLINTGL, Mr. Joe Livera, a former president, and other members
General Secretary and Directors of SLINTGL
Members of SLINTGL
Members of SLINTGL
Members of SLINTGL
Members of SLINTGL

Lesser Known Colombo

Lesser Known Colombo, a three-day workshop about a novel way to discover the city based on a treasure hunt, was held for a limited number of SLINTGL members at Goethe-Institut Sri Lanka on 10th, 11th & 12th Dec 2019.

On the first day, Prof. Asoka Mendis de Zoysa and Capt. Sadath Rajapakse introduced the concept of a treasure hunt to the participants. After spending the second day in the field discovering hidden aspects of Colombo in a real treasure hunt, on the final day the participants did their presentations on the experiences and insights they had gained. Mr. Rakitha Karunaratne, Head of Language Department at the Goethe-Institut Sri Lanka, and other members of the staff there played a major role in the organisation of the event.

Going by the response from the participants and organisers, it was a resounding success. We hope to have more workshops like this in the future.

Venue: GOETHE-INSTITUT SRI LANKA, 39, R.G. Senanayake Mawatha, Colombo 7
Tel: +94 11 2694562 Fax: +94 11 2693351 e-mail: info-colombo@goethe.de web: https://www.goethe.de/ins/lk/en/

Day 1: Tuesday, 10th Dec                              

9am – 10.30 am Introduction to the concept of Treasure Hunt 
10.30 am – 11 am Tea break
11 am – 1 pm Insider information on on Colombo
1 pm – 2 pm Lunch
2 pm – 3.30 pm Workshop: Designing a treasure hunt for Colombo
3.30 pm – 3.45 Tea break
3.45 pm – 5 pm Designing a treasure hunt for Colombo 11

Day2: Wednesday, 11th Dec – in the field

Meeting point: Goethe-lnstitut at 9 am

Day3: Thursday, 12th Dec

9am – 10.30 am Feedback/Reflection on Treasure Hunt
10.30 am – 11 am Tea break
11 am – 1 pm Workshop: Preparing booklet/app
11 pm – 2 pm Lunch
2 pm – 3.30 pm Workshop: Preparing booklet/app
3.30 pm – 3.45 Tea break
3.45 pm – 5 pm Workshop: Preparing booklet/app

Materials: map, books on Colombo

Workshop on Related Laws and Regulations for Tour Guiding

A workshop for SLINTGL members on Related Laws and Regulations for Tour Guiding was conducted at the Institute on 26th Nov. 2019

Agenda of the Workshop

Workshop Theme – Related Laws & Regulations for Tour Guiding

09.00 – Registration

09.30 – Welcome Speech

09.40 – Objectives of the Workshop

President, SLINTGL

09.50 – Session 1

  • Wildlife & Environmental Laws
  • Customs Laws
  • Bio-Piracy
Senior lawyer Mr. Jagath Gunawardana
Mr.Samantha Gunasekara ­– Ex Deputy Director, Customs

10.30 – Refreshments

10.45 – Session 1 Cont….

11.30 – Session 2: Unlicensed Guiding Penalties

Investigation Officer, Enforcement Unit, SLTDA
Senior lawyer Mr. Kithsiri Gunawardana

12.30 – Role of Standards & Quality Assurance & Legal Division of SLTDA

13.00 – Cape Town Declaration for Tour Guiding

Mr. Sajeewa Chamikara – Environment Flying Squad

13.30 – Session 3: Panel Discussion

  • Monitoring illegal guiding
  • How to stop illegal guiding
  • Provisions of 2005 Tourism Act No 38 & Extraordinary Gazette 2140 / 17 – 2019 Sep 10
  • Other relevant laws for tour guiding
Mr. Kottachi – Chief Investigation Officer, Police
Mr. Sajeewa Chamikara – Environment Flying Squad,
Investigation Officer,Enforcement Unit, SLTDA
Senior lawyer Mr. Kithsiri Gunawardana
President, SLINTGL