A sighting of the rare black-necked stork at Uda Walawe National Park is reported by Global Travel Industry News (eTN) correspondent Srilal Miththapala while on a trip to see the elephants that the park is famous for.

He writes that “as always, we had some very good close sightings. There is no doubt that UWNP is the best place to see wild elephants in their natural habitat all year-round”.

But then, “none of us could really believe what we were seeing. Slowly we turned to each other and whispered unbelievingly “black-necked stork?

“In Sri Lanka, the species is a rare breeding resident, with only 4–8 breeding pairs seen in Ruhuna National Park. It is classified as Near Threatened (NT) on the IUCN Red List. And the icing on the cake was that from all reports, it had never been sighted ever before in the UWNP.

Read the full report here.

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Now is the best time to travel to Sri Lanka

The Herald Sun in Melbourne hails Sri Lanka as one of the best 2017 alternatives to Bali, which for many years has been a favourite getaway for Australians seeking tropical sun, sea and sand.

It writes: “With a number of new luxury resorts moving in, now is the best time to travel to Sri Lanka. Explore the island’s unspoilt coastal areas and lush landscapes, but also take advantage of the Australian dollar’s 5 per cent growth against the Sri Lankan rupee.

“Accommodation prices are also down by 14 per cent YOY, to $152 on average per night, alongside a 7 per cent YOY drop in the average cost of a flight from Australia to Sri Lanka, to just $576.”

Read the full report here.

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In praise of arrack, Sri Lanka’s peerless golden tipple

The Chicago Tribune knows a good thing when it sees it, and that includes arrack, Sri Lanka’s peerless golden tipple that has been compared to the finest Scotch whisky for taste and natural goodness.

It reports how the founder of liquor specialist Mesh & Bone first came across the “whiskey-rum crossover that is made of the fermented sap of coconut flowers. (It’s also known as coconut arrack, not to be confused with the more common Batavia arrack, the Indonesian rice spirit).

“Everyone was drinking this drink on the rocks, sort of like you would a Scotch, but I had no idea what it was,” says Crist, who was on the lookout for a product addition for Mesh & Bone, the rare spirits line he launched this August in Chicago. “When they told me about it, that it was this ancient spirit and had never before made its way to the States, I had to learn more.”

Read the full report here.

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Stars and Stripes hails one-of-a-kind experience

The legendary US newspaper Stars and Stripes, which since the Civil War has been providing news and information for military personnel, reports on Sri Lanka’s famed Yala National Park in the latest Japanese edition.

“Located approximately 243 kilometers from the capital Colombo, Yala National Park is the most visited national park each year in Sri Lanka, as thousands of nature loving travelers descend on one of Asia’s most beautiful parks.

“There’s plenty of activities to do — from bird-watching and safari rides to camping and getting off the beaten path — that your sure to have a one-of-kind experience.

Read the full report here.

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The ultimate destination

The UK’s Mail Online, the world’s most widely read English-language digital newspaper, writes: “The exotic isle of Sri Lanka is the ultimate insta-trip, with tropical wildlife, golden-roofed temples and beautiful beaches.

“Bursting with colour and full of life, Sri Lanka is the ultimate show-off destination. From national parks and botanical gardens, to beaches and ornate temples, the attention-grabbing isle, located south of India in the Indian Ocean, has plenty to see and share with your friends back home.

“Sri Lanka was known as Ceylon before 1972. It is a beautiful island nation south of India in the Indian Ocean, the Royal Botanical Gardens and the Madu Ganga River are nature hotspots, and the Buddha’s tooth is housed in the famous Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic.”

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