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Negombo

Negombo

Cities & township

Negombo is a city on the west coast of Sri Lanka, north of the capital, Colombo. Near the waterfront, the remains of the 17th-century Dutch Fort now house a prison. Negombo Lagoon, lined with fishermen’s huts, feeds into the Dutch-era Hamilton Canal.

Elevation
2 m
Climate
27°C, Wind SW at 18 km/h
Foozoo destinations
Nuwara Eliya

Nuwara Eliya

Cities & township

Nuwara Eliya is a city in the tea country hills of
central Sri Lanka. The naturally landscaped Hakgala Botanical Gardens displays roses and tree ferns, and shelters monkeys and blue magpies. Nearby Seetha Amman Temple, a colorful Hindu shrine, is decorated with religious figures.

Elevation
1,868 m
Climate
16°C, Wind SE at 5 km/h
Foozoo destinations
Kandy

Kandy

Cities & township

Kandy is a large city in central Sri Lanka. It's set on a plateau surrounded by mountains, which are home to tea plantations and biodiverse rainforest. The city's heart is scenic Kandy Lake (Bogambara Lake), which is popular for strolling.

Elevation
500 m
Climate
25°C, Wind SW at 5 km/h
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LATEST FROM THE BLOG

A Spiritual New Year's Eve

Are you exhausted by the idea of a new year’s eve party? All the noise from the fireworks and the loud music can seem inescapable. You either join the party and drink till you can enjoy it, or you hide away at home, calming your pets as they fear for the end of the world. What if it didn’t have to be that way? What if you could have a meditative, spiritual experience instead? Keep reading.


While it may be a tradition in the West to countdown to midnight on new year’s eve, in Sri Lanka, it’s not as big a deal. Sure, every hotel will throw a party and a put on a fireworks display, but apart from the bourgeoisie in Colombo, the rest of the country doesn’t really celebrate it. We actually have our own new year, a harvest festival, and it’s celebrated in April!


If you’re up for an uphill climb (there are stairs, don’t worry!), a boat ride on a lake, or a campsite in a grassland, here are our suggestions:


Peak Pilgrimage


Being a multicultural country, Sri Lankans share religious sites to which they make pilgrimages. People of all faiths begin the ascent to the top of a mountain, known to some as Sripada, Ratnagiri, Samanala Kanda, and Adam’s Peak. Yes, that Adam. Why do they climb? There is a footprint on its peak that Buddhists believe to be of the Buddha, Hindus believe to be of Lord Shiva, and Muslims and Christians believe that it was left by Adam as he set foot on earth upon exile from Eden.


What’s really to be marvelled at, though, is the view. If you make the climb at night, it will take about five hours to reach the peak. Once you’re there, settle in and look forward to the sunrise. Words can’t do justice to the sight, it simply must be seen and experienced. Watch as the sun leaps over the eastern horizon, drawing a shadow of the mountain in a perfect triangle over its western backdrop.


Cloud Forest


At an elevation of 2000 meters, there is a plateau rich in biodiversity, populated by endemic species. It is known as Horton Plains, a world heritage site that spans grasslands, a waterfall, a cloud forest and a spectacular view dubbed World’s End. It’s about a nine-kilometre walk, with a circuitous route, so you can decide in which order you want to experience it. Keep an eye out for the birds and lizards as you make your way through the cloud forest. In the grasslands, you’ll likely come across some sambar deer.


We suggest camping in the grasslands. The wildlife department operates three campsites, each about 500 meters from the visitation centre. You can spend a quiet night under the stars and then take the walk in the morning.


Ancient Reservoir


Man-made by damming one of Kala Wewa’s tributaries, the Kandalama Reservoir is a serene, placid water body that stands testament to this country’s ancient irrigation knowledge. Formed with masses of hewn rock, with stones ten feet thick at the base, placed like steps, it would have been quite a daunting task to complete. It’s actually often called Kandalama “Lake” as it’s so easy to mistake it for being a natural phenomenon.


You can look forward to birdwatching by boat, early in the morning. Imagine being greeted by birdsong at the dawn of a new year. Your view of the lake transforms over the course of the day, as the misty morning gives way to crimson skies at sunset. Other activities available in the area include hot air balloon rides as well as climbing Sigiriya, an ancient rock fortress, just a few kilometres away.


Where To Avoid


In any case, if you want to enjoy a peaceful night on new year’s eve, you’d want to avoid major hotels, especially along the coast, and stay far away from the capital and larger towns. If you’d like to have a custom tour tailored to your needs, write to us and we’ll see right to it!

#1 On Lonely Planet In The Mi..

Note: This article will be updated to reflect the changes in the ground situation.


Update (14/11/2018 11:40 AM) : Parliamentarians who voted in favour of the No Confidence Motion against Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapakse have signed a motion to Speaker Karu Jayasuriya reconfirming their calls. The majority voted ‘aye’.


No sooner than Lonely Planet announced Sri Lanka as its #1 travel destination for 2019, governments around the world issued travel advisories warning their citizens about the sudden shift in Sri Lanka’s political climate. Fear not, however, as we’re here to tell you that our doors are still open and why it’s still safe to visit the resplendent island.


So what’s really going on? Well, at the moment of writing this, a few things have happened. Our president and prime minister came under scrutiny as their government, which came to power on a popular platform, could not deliver on its promises. Perhaps in an attempt to avoid responsibility, the president chose to remove the prime minister and appoint a new one, former president Mahinda Rajapakse. The president appointed a cabinet of ministers, issued a gazette to dissolve parliament, and elections have been called for January 2019. This was much to the ire of those opposed to the previous regime and those who uphold the constitution, which does not allow for it. On the other hand, many have been celebrating this change.


In fact, for the most part, it is civil society, concentrated in Colombo, that are riled up about the issue. Everywhere else on the island, from tourist destinations to the rural countryside, peace prevails and life goes on as usual. There has been one incident of violence when a mob attempted to assault a member of parliament and his security personnel fired at them. This happened in the heat of the coup, and since then it has been calm and memes have taken over. Politics is certainly on everyone’s mind, but the hospitality sector, in particular, is never shaken. As Lonely Planet rightly notes, our people defy all odds with our welcome and friendliness.


Be it the tuk driver, surf instructor, waiter or bus conductor, wherever you go, you’re sure to be greeted by a Sri Lankan smile. That’s just a part of our culture and our personality, a curious fact. You’d sometimes stop and marvel at how we manage to maintain this sense of optimism. Some attribute it to short-term memory, that we soon forget our troubles. Others choose to believe that we simply persevere. After having to turn away visitors time and time again over a 30-year conflict, we’ve spent the past decade, post-conflict, inviting the world to share in the delights of this country, and we’re not about to let some political misadventures spoil that.


So what’s in store for Sri Lanka? A Supreme Court hearing on November 12 and 13 led to a stay order on the Gazette. This allowed the parliament to be convened, today. A No Confidence Motion has been called against Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapakse.

Sri Lanka Beach Holiday

10 nights on the beach

If you are looking for a beach holiday in a tropical destination to break away from all the stress of your everyday life then Foozoo Travel’s Beach Please Dash plan is the best place to start.


It combines 6 of Sri Lanka’s most amazing beaches. And because each beach destination in Sri Lanka is different you get to experience so much more than just sun, surf and sand.


The Sri Lanka Beach Holiday package offers 6 unique beach destinations

For example, the Beach Please Dash package offers Tangalle beach in the deep south of Sri Lanka. This beach is super quiet, unspoilt and very much like the picture postcard beaches you see. It truly is a paradise out here. The Beach holiday package which is of 10 nights and 11 days duration also features Mirissa beach and Weligama beach. Mirissa offers so much by way of nightlife, beach culture, parties and amazing restaurants. Weligama Beach is spectacular when it comes to surfing and whale watching.


In addition to the happening Mirissa Beach and Weligama Beach the Sri Lanka Beach Holiday package, Beach Please Dash offers Unawatuna beach. This is a beach which has its own vibe and is super close to the famous Galle Fort. From here you can explore the old Dutch Fort its idyllic streets, high-end restaurants and so much more. So yes this Sri Lanka Beach Holiday package also offers superb opportunities to explore the island, meet people and take in a multitude of enthralling aspects.


The Beach Please Dash Sri Lanka Beach Holiday will also take you to the water sports hub off Bentota where you also have the opportunity to explore Geoffrey Bawa’s Lunuganga Estate, enjoy boat rides on the river and enjoy quiet nights under the stars with the rise and fall of the ocean to lull you into a state of bliss.


The tour ends with Mount Lavinia Beach which brings you super close to the city, allows you time to shop and sightsee and then head off back home.


Please follow this link to find out more about this package and to see our amazing inclusions, holidays and much more.


The featured video is by courtesy of BackPAcker Steve:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCwO9naEwEdTuT9Q5Vze6XCA

Latest News

#1 On Lonely Planet In The Midst Of A Coup

Note: This article will be updated to reflect the changes in the ground situation.


Update (14/11/2018 11:40 AM) : Parliamentarians who voted in favour of the No Confidence Motion against Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapakse have signed a motion to Speaker Karu Jayasuriya reconfirming their calls. The majority voted ‘aye’.


No sooner than Lonely Planet announced Sri Lanka as its #1 travel destination for 2019, governments around the world issued travel advisories warning their citizens about the sudden shift in Sri Lanka’s political climate. Fear not, however, as we’re here to tell you that our doors are still open and why it’s still safe to visit the resplendent island.


So what’s really going on? Well, at the moment of writing this, a few things have happened. Our president and prime minister came under scrutiny as their government, which came to power on a popular platform, could not deliver on its promises. Perhaps in an attempt to avoid responsibility, the president chose to remove the prime minister and appoint a new one, former president Mahinda Rajapakse. The president appointed a cabinet of ministers, issued a gazette to dissolve parliament, and elections have been called for January 2019. This was much to the ire of those opposed to the previous regime and those who uphold the constitution, which does not allow for it. On the other hand, many have been celebrating this change.


In fact, for the most part, it is civil society, concentrated in Colombo, that are riled up about the issue. Everywhere else on the island, from tourist destinations to the rural countryside, peace prevails and life goes on as usual. There has been one incident of violence when a mob attempted to assault a member of parliament and his security personnel fired at them. This happened in the heat of the coup, and since then it has been calm and memes have taken over. Politics is certainly on everyone’s mind, but the hospitality sector, in particular, is never shaken. As Lonely Planet rightly notes, our people defy all odds with our welcome and friendliness.


Be it the tuk driver, surf instructor, waiter or bus conductor, wherever you go, you’re sure to be greeted by a Sri Lankan smile. That’s just a part of our culture and our personality, a curious fact. You’d sometimes stop and marvel at how we manage to maintain this sense of optimism. Some attribute it to short-term memory, that we soon forget our troubles. Others choose to believe that we simply persevere. After having to turn away visitors time and time again over a 30-year conflict, we’ve spent the past decade, post-conflict, inviting the world to share in the delights of this country, and we’re not about to let some political misadventures spoil that.


So what’s in store for Sri Lanka? A Supreme Court hearing on November 12 and 13 led to a stay order on the Gazette. This allowed the parliament to be convened, today. A No Confidence Motion has been called against Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapakse.

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IGLTA shines a light on the human rights aspect of Tourism with a diverse and captivating panel discussion

Foozoo Travel Sri Lanka’s Dinesh Perera highlights some key observations affecting emerging markets like Sri Lanka


IGLTA 2018 through its programme line-up demonstrated an acute awareness of not only how important LGBTIQ travellers are to the global tourism but also how they are demanding more from their travel destinations. From sustainability practices, disability support, authenticity to acceptance of human rights, LGBTIQ travellers are far more involved and have broad considerations when deciding on where to go. Therefore the panel discussion titled ‘The Intersection of Human Rights and Tourism’ was one of the most well received and powerful moments of the 4 day event in Toronto, Canada.

The panel discussion which was sponsored by AIG was moderated by Fabrice Houdart, Human Rights Officer in the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. The panel comprised of Kevin Dallas, Chief Executive Officer, Bermuda Tourism Authority, Sean Howell, cofounder & President of Hornet, Helen Kennedy, Executive Director, Eagle Canada Human Rights Trust and Dinesh Perera, Founder of Foozoo Travel, Sri Lanka.

Mr. Fabrice kicked off the panel discussion by highlighting the publication of the Standards of Conduct calling on the private sector to scale up its game in contributing to the much-needed global social change on Human Rights of LGBTI people. He noted that these Standards have already received the support of more than 120 of the largest companies in the world. And this list is fast growing.

Here are a few other extracts from Mr. Fabrice’s opening statement.

“Tourism provides 10% of the world’s GDP, 7% of global trade and as many as one in every 11 jobs globally. Dee (Dinesh Perera) was mentioning yesterday that travel and tourism contributes to 11.6 % of Sri Lanka’s GDP. It is a voice that cannot be ignored and has the power to contribute to expand the historic shift in public attitudes we observed here in North America and need in most places of the World.”

“But business is now increasingly engaged in the fight to extend equality for the LGBT community – we are observing it in Singapore, Uganda or Hong Kong – and, we believe, business today has a critical role to play globally in support of those grassroots movements we see emerging around the world.

At this time of great flux – when huge gains made in many countries in the West, in Latin America and parts of Asia now need to be consolidated and extended, and when LGBT communities are more visible – and in some cases facing pushback – in parts of the world where they were previously relegated to the shadows – we need your help now more than ever to get all companies irrespective of their size and location in this industry to step up in meeting responsibilities and opportunities on the Human Rights of LGBTI people.


Contributing to the panel discussion and responding to questions, Dinesh Perera of Foozoo Travel Sri Lanka gave credit to all the many civil society personalities who have chipped away at the walls that have held LGBTIQ community of Sri Lanka captive. He mentioned that this work continues with added energy and is more and more supported by business enterprises that see it as the right thing to do. And as a business organization that is LGBTIQ owned and catering to that segment, he highlighted their responsibility, fears and complexities in doing business and supporting the community at the same time.


Dinesh also highlighted work done by Foozoo Travel to make the LGBTIQ story more visible. These include openly marketing itself as an LGBTIQ friendly company, enrolling staff, providing training and engaging with other organizations and businesses connected to or supporting LGBTIQ businesses. He also brought attention to how this topic has been politicized, confused and grossly misrepresented by numerous groups. This he said continues to challenge them personally and as a business as the climate towards LGBTIQ persons and work can rapidly turn ugly.


Meanwhile, Kevin Dallas highlighted the international fallout for Bermuda Tourism as a result of changes to the same sex marriage ban. Sean Howell of Hornet touched on how his app is not just bringing community members together but also making positive changes and providing protection for communities in unsafe areas. Helen Kennedy brought in a lot of perspectives on staying engaged with the many stakeholders and staying focused even if it means that it will all take a lot more time.


Speak to Dinesh Perera or Foozoo Travel to transform your business to an LGBTIQ friendly one. Their consultancy platform offers practical and engaging means to educate the management, staff, partners and all stakeholders on being LGBTIQ friendly, accepting and nurturing.

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The IGLTA Foundation launches the Discovery Series

Founder of Foozoo Travel, Sri Lanka makes some compelling points


The International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association (IGLTA) is an international organization and a member-based global organization dedicated to LGBT tourism. The association has a global presence with member businesses in more than 80 countries and global ambassadors in more than 22 countries. The International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association (IGLTA) was the first gay organization to receive affiliate member status in the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) in November 2010. In November 2015 the International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association became an orgisational partner with the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA).


The IGLTA Foundation supports the mission of IGLTA and its members through education, research and leadership development that benefits the global LGBTQ tourism industry. And this year saw the launch of the Discovery Series – Voices from LGBTQ Travel Professionals in Emerging Destinations.


The programme, conducted by IGLTA Hall of Fame award winner, Tanya Churchmuch of Much PR saw representatives from small to medium businesses speak about unique challenges they face back home. Participants included representatives from Brazil, Curacao and Uganda.


Contributing to the conversation, founder of Foozoo Travel, Dinesh Perera highlighted that destinations like Sri Lanka offer a multitude of challenges that are complicated by cultural norms and politicisation. His business that is contributing to the economy needs to appeal to international clients that value diversity, safety and authentic experiences yet communicate them in such a way that does not ruffle feathers. He also appealed for cohesive and strategic support in marketing communications, and visibility which organisations like the IGLTA can provide.

Another contributor touched on the important fact that the demographics of International travellers are changing. As marriage equality takes hold around the world and people are becoming more comfortable living their authentic selves, international travellers who identify as LGBTIQ are also increasing. They and their families value businesses and destinations that respect equality. Thus creating a strong business case for equality and non-discriminatory practices.


The Discovery series will continue at future IGLTA conventions and the points discussed in the first meeting will be revisited throughout the coming year. Foozoo Travel on behalf of other businesses like them hope that these discussions will deliver tangible and meaningful results.

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