The BBC Natural History Unit (NHU), the department of the BBC which produces television, radio and online content with a natural history or wildlife theme is currently in Sri Lanka to film the country’s National Parks and Archeological Sites for one of its highly regarded nature documentaries, “Monsoon”.
Best known for its productions such as The Blue Planet and Planet Earth, each year the NHU produces around 100 hours of television and 50 hours of radio programmes, making it the single largest wildlife documentary production house in the world. In a bid to cover the historic archeological connection to the county’s wildlife heritage, the NHU is currently covering sites such as the Kalawewa, Sigiriya and Polonnaruwa along with the Minneriya and Wilpattu National Parks. Cinnamon `Nature Trails’, the dedicated Wildlife and Adventure Tourism division at John Keells Hotels Group is the official ground handling agent for the NHU tour, whilst the crew is being hosted at a range of Cinnamon Hotels & Resorts during their stay in Sri Lanka – including Cinnamon Lodge Habarana and Cinnamon Wild Yala.
Understanding that films and television programs have a significant, positive effect on tourism, the filming tour was organized by Cinnamon Nature Trails with the full approval of the Ministry of Wildlife Conservation with the prime objective of gaining a wider `branding’ for Sri Lanka and its natural world, which in turn will have a very strong influence on creating a desire to travel in the minds of its wide tourist audience.
With over 16 nature parks and wildlife reserves to boast of and only 24 percent of tourists to Sri Lanka visiting these sites annually, the effect that a documentary such as this, produced by an elite unit of the BBC such as the NHU, will only be persistent and long-lasting and will no doubt contribute immensely towards the ambitious vision of the Government to achieve the arrival of high-end tourists into the country.
“Sri Lanka is just one country in the whole series on the monsoon. It is a privilege to be considered amongst the likes of Malaysia and Indonesia in this portrayal of the great ancient world and its links to the irrigational achievements of past kings that hosts the wilderness and natural world at present. Indeed a great opportunity for us,” said Vimukthi Weerathunga, Wildlife Biologist and Operations Director of the Environment Foundation Limited.
According to the BBC, the tour, in essence will bring an estimated 50,000,000 viewers along with them to see Sri Lankan wildlife’s challenges, and solutions in surviving the drought. The crew also intends on filming the Yala National Park once it reopens to visitors by the end of the month.