Friendly smiles, golden beaches, aromatic cuisine, exotic wildlife and endless sporting opportunities – sounds about perfect, right? If your answer is yes, then Sri Lanka is the destination for you! Known as ‘The Pearl of the Indian Ocean’, Sri Lanka is renowned for its natural beauty, friendly people and distinctive teardrop shape, but there’s so much more to discover.
Here are our top six reasons why Sri Lanka should be the destination of choice for your next sports tour…
1. Sports – It would be pretty silly of us to start our list with anything else, after all, we live and breathe sports! Also we bet you didn’t realise just how popular sport is in Sri Lanka, especially cricket. It’s near impossible to walk 500m on any evening or weekend without witnessing or becoming involved in a game of cricket of some description! Any space is utilised for an impromptu game, with locals fully invited for a bowl or bat (although we advise the former).
We often arrange tour matches for school teams at international stadiums such as Galle, Dambulla, Asgiriya (Kandy) and the Sinhalese in Colombo. If you’re not so much of a cricket fan, then Sri Lanka offers the perfect backdrop for football, netball and field-hockey too! Rugby teams will find a number of private schools competing in a structured summer league, offering quality opposition and facilities over the traditional June-August sports tour travel window.
2. People – “Sri Lanka has unbelievably friendly people” declared one of our Sports Tour Consultants on returning from a recent visit. Sri Lanka is a multi-ethnic, multi-religious and multi-cultural society, and this has led to a vibrant and friendly destination. The people of Sri Lanka possess a warm and friendly nature reflected in smiling faces and an eagerness to help in any way possible. If you want a destination that greets you with open arms and wide smiles, Sri Lanka is the place for you.
3. Philanthropy – Everybody enjoys giving something back to the community when they can, and in Sri Lanka we’re working with the Foundation of Goodness charity to offer you the opportunity to do just that. Set up by Kushil Gunasekera in 1999 to provide essential services to his ancestral village of Seenigama, this charity allows you to work on various communal projects that will certainly benefit the Sri Lankan people.
Educating about humility, with many team benefits, we often find that helping out at the Foundation of Goodness is always a memorable and fulfilling experience for groups, as well as providing some much appreciated support for the local community. An example can be seen on a recent hockey tour we arranged for Queenswood School. The girls met 50 school children and helped with their classwork, sporting recreation and donated stationary and items brought over from the UK. Mixing philanthropy with your sports tour will benefit your team in so many ways, and there’s no better place to experience true team bonding than Sri Lanka.
4. Wildlife – Sri Lanka’s wildlife is as varied as the island itself, ranging from elephants and leopards to egg-laying turtles and a huge variety of birds. With 12% of the country designated solely for wildlife protection, it’s easy to get a taste of the truly exotic nature of Sri Lankan wildlife. On top of all this, Sri Lanka is also home to the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage and the Bentota Turtle Hatchery – excursions recently visited by Queenswood School who embarked on a hockey tour to Sri Lanka earlier this month. As the picture below shows, these sanctuaries allow you to get up close and personal with the animals, an experience which we cannot recommend enough, and one which Queenswood students said they would never forget!
5. Food – Sri Lanka enjoys a very varied and select diet that sees the cultivations of many types of rice, spices, vegetables and fruit alongside meat or fish. Sri Lankan food offers an exciting mix, and although many of the snacks and meals may look similar to their Indian counterparts, upon closer inspection they are true to their own history and heritage. For the sweet toothed amongst us, make sure you try Kitul syrup (pancakes optional!). Traditionally served with curd, a yoghurt made from buffalo milk, this syrup is a delight to your taste buds and is highly recommended by the locals.
6. Hotels – If there’s one thing Sri Lanka knows how to do well, it’s hotels! We are literally spoilt for choice with the array of Sri Lankan accommodation options when it comes to planning your tour. Rest assured, all of our accommodation centres have been fully audited to ensure their suitability for school groups. With unbelievable facilities, breath-taking backdrops and swimming pools aplenty, why not sit back and let Rayburn Sports tours plan the perfect getaway for your team?
So there you have it, our top six reasons why you should make Sri Lanka the destination of choice for your next Rayburn Sports tour. If this alone doesn’t tempt you, let our Tour Consultants Glenn or Mike tell you all about the beaches, the music, the scenery and the crystal clear ocean! It’s pretty hard to resist…