By Cassandra Mascarenhas
Thr ee time Presidential travel and tourism awardee and flagship within the Cinnamon Hotels and Resorts chain, Cinnamon Grand Colombo added another initiative to its growing portfolio of ‘firsts’ by becoming the first hotel in Sri Lanka to launch a first day cover marking World Tourism Day.
The first day cover, depicting the 200-year-old banyan tree which is centric to Nuga Gama’s historic setting, the ‘Gamagedara’ and the rustic bridge known as the ‘Edanda,’ was issued by the Postmaster General of Sri Lanka M.K.B. Dissanayake.
It was hence fitting that the launch was held at Nuga Gama where the first day cover of the Rs. 5 stamp, which falls into the personalised category, was presented to the Chief Guest, Minister of Economic Development Basil Rajapaksa. This was done so amidst a distinguished gathering that included JKH Chairman Susantha Ratnayake, JKH Deputy Chairman Ajith Gunewardene, Director of the Philatelic Bureau Channa Silva and the Diplomatic corps. The Chief Guest also planted a tree on the premises in commemoration of the occasion.
“Being World Tourism Day, it is important for us Sri Lankans to celebrate our rural roots and given that this year’s tourism theme is linking cultures, Nuga Gama becomes the ideal icon for us to link that theme to Sri Lanka’s heritage, traditions and cultural identity,” stated Cinnamon Grand General Manager Rohan Karr.
He added that it was also significant that this stamp was the first to be issued by any hotel in the country in the post war era, where tourism was now burgeoning and becoming a sure driver of the economy and the country had unequivocally earned the ‘hot spot’ title from travel experts around the globe.
A pioneering entrant into the Tourism Hall of Fame, Cinnamon Grand launched Nuga Gama using the central theme of the 200-year-old banyan tree within its property, showcasing all the dynamics of a rural hamlet complimented with authentic architecture, endemic cuisine, traditional customs, entertainment and even indigenous handicrafts sourced from village craftsman.
“Given that Nuga Gama is truly unique in concept, style and offering, this stamp will hold a special place among those who value everything Sri Lankan,” Karr explained. “This is a souvenir of Sri Lanka that speaks of yet another unique facet that this island nation has to offer not only to the world but also to our very own people, a true and realistic depiction of centuries old culture, heritage and environmental practices that were second nature to our people so long ago.”
The stamp will be available at the Cinnamon Grand’s reception or the authentic village ‘kade’ located at Nuga Gama.