As the novel coronavirus continues to hit the tourism industry across the globe, Sri Lanka’s mission in Ankara hosted an extraordinary online safari tour Tuesday.

Located around 5,700 kilometers (3,541 miles) from Turkey, Sri Lanka is one of the top tourist destinations in the region. Thanks to its breathtaking natural landscapes and lush jungles, the country was named Asia’s Leading Adventure Tourism Destination earlier this year by the 2020 World Travel Award.

As the country does not accept international visitors due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau organized the ‘Go on a Couch Safari’ online live streaming event to give a test of viewing its wide varieties of wildlife.

“Explore the natural wonder of Sri Lanka’s national parks. Step into the breathtaking plains and lush jungles of the island without moving from the comfort of your sitting room,” said the bureau on its website about the tour.

The embassy in Ankara hosted Turkish journalists, travel writers and tourism agencies in the event, maintaining coronavirus rules.

Speaking to guests after the event, Ambassador Mohamed Rizvi Hassen said: “We have tremendous potential in the tourism and business sector.”

He also noted that the aim of this event was to introduce those opportunities to Turkish people.

He went on to say that Turkish and Sri Lankan businesspeople are in discussions to further widen their cooperation.

Mentioning that Sri Lanka has already signed free trade agreements with Pakistan and India and the country is in discussions with China and Bangladesh, Hassen said the island nation is the gateway to the Asia and Pacific region.

He hoped that more Turkish tourists, businesspeople and investors would visit Sri Lanka once the COVID-19 situation is over.

The Go on a Couch Safari, a series of livestreaming events, was launched on Nov. 4 and will continue until Nov. 13, which will allow people to see the country’s diverse wildlife in four national parks – Minneriya, Kaudulla, Udawalawe and Yala — virtually.

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