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Ebert Silva, legend in Sri Lanka’s travel and tourism passes away

Mar 29, 2012 2:31:31 PM - www.ft.lk

Ebert Silva, a pioneer in the field of travel and tourism in Sri Lanka passed away on the 28 March at the age of 79.
Ebert Silva gave life to an important and glorious chapter of Sri Lanka’s transport, tourism and motoring history with the name being synonymous with the industry.

Continuing the business his own father had started in 1928, and later named after him, he not only operated a model transport service during those pre-nationalisation days but also diversified into bus charters and coach services for domestic travellers as well as for foreign visitors.
Added to many other accolades, he was also felicitated at the Presidential Awards for Travel and Tourism 2009, with the highest tribute and accolade in the industry as a ‘Legend’ in recognition of his lasting and outstanding contribution which has spanned well over five decades.
The success of tourism in our country and future glories beckoning the industry are largely due to the contributions by committed and dedicated individuals at the very early stages of the industry. Despite many hardships and formidable challenges including limited resources, the commitment and vision of legendary pioneers in the like of Ebert Silva no doubt has enabled the industry to reach the present heights.
He leaves behind his loving wife Sudharma and dearly loved children Rajini and Rajinda. Cortege will leave residence No. 25, Hill Street, Dehiwala at 4 p.m. on Saturday, 31 March. Cremation will take place at the Mt. Lavinia Cemetery at 4:30 p.m.
The beginning
Nomis de Silva, father of Ebert Silva, laid the foundations for Ebert Silva Touring Co. Ltd. as far back as 1925 when he started operating a single bus along the Colombo-Matara bus route, later naming it after his eldest son.
It grew into a prosperous business venture and with his untimely death in 1953, Ebert Silva who was in his early ’20s was compelled to take over the reins of the family business.
At a time when the term ‘domestic tourism’ was unknown in the local travel vocabulary, his vision was to highlight and showcase various unique spots of Ceylon, enabling the local traveller to witness the splendour and glory of this blessed isle in a more organised and reliable manner in comfort.
Pioneer in domestic and inbound tourism
Just prior to the nationalisation of bus companies, in 1954, Ebert Silva in a pioneering effort incorporated Ebert Silva Touring Co. Ltd., to cater to inbound tourism, which was at its nascent stages, and with immense resilience and spirit the company was spearheaded to be the only survivor of 56 bus companies that operated prior to nationalisation.
Today, Ebert Silva Touring Co. Ltd. is a market leader and a forerunner of the industry possessing the largest privately-owned fleet of modern vehicles of numerous models and capacities. The services include exclusive domestic package tours, inbound and outbound travel to both Sri Lankans as well as foreign groups.
Among the distinguished local clientele are various Government and private sector organisations, schools and other educational institutions. The company owns and operates two filling stations and a fully-equipped garage and workshops adding to the solid infrastructure and back-up service facilities.
The Ebert Silva Group consists of six subsidiaries, ES Automobile Engineering Co. Ltd., ES Forwarding & Clearing Co. Ltd., ES Holidays and ES Properties are some of them.
Ebert Silva Tours has been the proud recipient of many awards and accolades and among them are the prestigious Presidential Awards as the ‘Best Domestic Tour Operator’ for two consecutive years, 2007 and 2008. With years of such services embellished with dedication, quality, and reliability to Sri Lanka’s travel and tourism Ebert Silva has become a household name associated with the industry.