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A delegation consisting of seventeen students from the University of Lincoln, UK, arrived for a short visit to Sri Lanka to study the way of life of the Sri Lankan people, culture, heritage and tourism experiences offered by the destination. They also visited the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau during their visit, in order to obtain more information for their studies on Sri Lanka as a tourist destination and to better understand their questions regarding the measures taken in a post-pandemic environment to restart/relaunch the Sri Lanka tourism industry.

The group arrived at a time when the British government had issued several travel advisories against Sri Lanka, but despite this the group were able to continue their visit to Sri Lanka under the guidance of their tour leader, Professor Martin Knight, who has been to Sri Lanka with student groups on several occasions. He is also Head of the MSc International Hospitality Management Program and Head of the MSc Crisis and Disaster Management Program at Lincoln International Business School, University of Lincoln, in addition to being a solicitor in England and Wales law and a barrister . of the New York Bar.

As a regular visitor to the country, Professor Knight came up with the idea of ​​bringing a group of students to Sri Lanka to share his experience with the students and give them knowledge and insight into Sri Lanka as one of the best tourist destinations in the world.

The group was warmly welcomed by Tourism Bureau officials, including the Chairman, Chalaka Gajabahu, Padma Siriwardene, Managing Director, and Dushan Wickramasuriya, Marketing Manager, Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau. The chairman gave a brief but very descriptive introduction to the culture, way of life, delicious Sri Lankan cuisine and its people, while giving them an idea of ​​the experiences and what they could expect during their stay. in Sri Lanka. He also urged the students to spread a positive message about Sri Lanka when they return home and encourage more travelers to Sri Lanka which will surely be a boost for tourism in Sri Lanka. Then, a very productive presentation of the country was made by Dushan Wickramasuriya, Marketing Director. SLTPB which was followed by a Q&A session. All logistical arrangements for the tour were provided by Airwing Tours.

The University of Lincoln, UK is ranked in the top 20 universities in the UK for student satisfaction in the Guardian University Guide 2022 and the Complete University Guide 2022 and in the top 30 UK universities overall of the WhatUni Student Choice Awards 2020. They hold a top five star in the QS Stars World Universities Rating System and are among the top 150 young universities in the world in the Times Higher Education Young Universities Rankings 2021.

Encourage student groups as these will bring more promotional success and a more positive message about Sri Lanka, and make it once again the number one tourist destination in the world. (Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau)

Lynn A. Saleh