by Natalie Wood, Product Development & Sales Manager
In September, representing Ilan Style, I participated in 'A Journey of Exploration', a Trade Delegation to Sri Lanka for Victorian Indigenous food, beverage, and textile businesses. The purpose of our trip was to explore trade and investment prospects, diving into thriving sectors like tech and startups, food, beverage, and textiles; while soaking in Sri Lanka's vibrant culture.
A Vibrant Agenda in Colombo
In Colombo, delegates had two days of back to back meetings with numerous Sri Lankan suppliers; we visited Orion Business Park, Sri Lanka's new Port City development, local retailers, and Hatch Works - a vibrant collaborative space for innovation and to incubate startups.
Embracing Culture and Artistry in Kandy
Our delegation then had the delight of visiting Kandy, and along the way we engaged with local artisans, a ceramics manufacturer, traditional hand-weavers, and batik fabric designers. We learned about the rich heritage of their artistry and the social impacts for local communities. We also ventured to an Ayurvedic spice farm, gaining insights into this ancient medicinal practice.
A Heartfelt Exchange in Dambana
Another highlight was our visit to the Dambana home of the Ancient People - Ahdhi wasin; where we met descendants of the Yaksha tribe. There we exchanged cultural gifts and shared stories with the local clans leader, Whoruwarige wanniyale Eathor. This experience was a humble reminder of the value of cross-cultural connections, the beauty of shared wisdom - and that despite language barriers, many things are universal!
Gratitude to Our Hosts and Partners
On behalf of Kerry Arabena and Ilan Style, I offer our sincere gratitude to hosts and partners, the incredible and dedicated Sara Stuart and Jessie Motlik MAICD of the Aboriginal Economic Development Unit of DJSIR; Kalum De Silva and Michelli Perera of the Sri Lanka and Australia Chamber of Commerce, supported by Vidyanand Sagaram of Global Victoria; SLASSCOM (Sri Lanka Association for Software and Services Companies), Sri Lanka Export Development Board, and The National Chamber of Commerce of Sri Lanka. We also extend our heartfelt thanks to partners who gave their time and expertise, suppliers, and to the awesome delegates who made this journey possible and so enjoyable! Special gratitude to our very talented guide Ravi, and the team at Diethelm Travel for being so professional, flexible and fun! This travel business is highly recommended!
A Brilliant Journey
This trip was simply brilliant. The group of delegates and hosts will remain forever bonded, and we have opened doors to many new trade opportunities and ancient trade routes, thus strengthening bonds between our nations and businesses.