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‘Ceylon Experience 2011’ jeep rally to take off today

Sep 25, 2011 2:30:26 PM - www.ft.lk

Sri Lanka will play host to a very different kind of tourism event for the very first time today as the international jeep rally titled ‘Ceylon Experience 2011’ takes off today.
The event, which aims to provide a unique country experience to its 42 Dutch participants, will take off from Mt. Lavinia this morning (26 September) and is scheduled to cover extensive terrain ranging from Galle to Dambulla and everything in between.
The two-week rally is this year’s edition of a biennial initiative for a group of travel enthusiasts from Holland.   Every two years, this group selects a different location from any part of the world to hold this rally.

This for them is an alternative and adventurous way to explore a new country.  
This year, Sri Lanka was voted as the destination of choice and the group has partnered with veteran Sri Lankan tour company, Eco Team to make it happen.
Eco Team CEO Anuruddha Bandara, explaining what this rally entails, said: “They will travel via many spectacular routes running through the interior of the country.
This rally is not really about speed, but more to experience nature and the culture of Sri Lanka.
 A ranking is achieved by checking the appropriate route, regularity stages and a number of tests.
“We at Eco Team have the experience and knowledge to handle the concept of this event.  
We will use locally hired four-wheel drive vehicles, driving a relaxed touring rally via special routes that one would not venture to travel by oneself.  
There are a few night stays in comfortable hotels and luxury safari tents with enough time to enjoy the surrounding nature and culture.
 There are also a number of rest days provided in exotic spots that would add value to the tour.”
A total of 21 jeeps are scheduled to compete in the rally which will include locations such as Colombo, Galle, Belihul Oya, Nuwara Eliya, Polonnaruwa, Kandy, Anuradhapura and Dambulla as its pit stops.
Each leg of the tour will feature sight-seeing opportunities to further enhance the experience, allowing the travellers to absorb as much as possible within the short time span.
Adventure rallies are not new to this group of eco-conscious tourists.
They have previously organised rallies in Zambia’s colonial town Livingstone in 2007 and Oman in 2009. As both rallies were immensely successful, participants were encouraged to use this mode of travel again. However, an event of this nature, with numerous locations and immobile contestants, poses several logistical difficulties.
Eco Team has been handed the organising reins for exactly that purpose.
The company recently celebrated its 11th year in operation and attributes its in-depth knowledge and experience of Sri Lanka along with its vast resources and diverse network of employees as the reasons behind being the preferred tour operator for ‘Ceylon Experience 2011’.
With an impressive portfolio of land and water based activities Eco Team services clients from Europe, North America, Canada and also India from whence demand has been increasing in recent times.