Lantern Trail

From left: Dr. Fernando Im, Senior Country Economist for Sri Lanka and the Maldives, The World Bank, Hon. Eran Wickramaratne, State Minister, Ministry of Finance and Mass Media, Dr. W A Wijewardana, Former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka, Prof. Indralal de Silva, Former (Chair) of Demography, University of Colombo, Prof. Amala de Silva, Department of Economics, University of Colombo at the panel discussion on "Demographic Change in Sri Lanka" moderated by Dr. Ramani Gunatilaka, International Centre for Ethnic Studies.

Tapping into a niche market of Buddhist pilgrims, the Tourism Ministry is launching plans to package Vesak as an annual event in the industry calendar.
In an organised promotion, travel and tour operators are being approached to design new packages for this clientele that will offer them discounted rates, special airfares and accommodation and tours.rn

rnldblquote This will be supported by a completely lquote Vesak experience in hotels, where during this period, hotels will host all of the Vesak traditions from the almsgiving and other rituals to meditation
dblquote , says Tourist Board Chairman, Paddy Withana.rn

rnldblquote We want to make this an annual event, branding Sri Lanka as a vesak destination while focusing attention on Sri Lankas Buddhist heritage
dblquote , he added.rn

rnRumblings have started on what some sections see as plans to lquote commercialise the festival, celebrated by Buddhists around the world.rn

rnVesak commemorates the day Lord Buddha is said to have achieved the supr