Cinnamon Hotels & Resorts Introduces ‘The Gathering of Giants’ Event: A Celebration of the Largest Asian Elephant Gathering

Cinnamon Hotels & Resorts introduces ‘The Gathering of Giants,’ an immersive educative weekend from 9th – 11th  August 2024 at Cinnamon Habarana Complex, a unique event aimed to transform the annual natural phenomenon of the world’s largest gathering of Asian elephants – the ‘Elephant Gathering’ into a celebrated and educational experience for all. This spectacular gathering, recognised as the highest concentration of Asian elephants in a single location, occurs at Minneriya National Park, where the Minneriya tank sustains more than 300 elephants during the dry season.

Situated close to Minneriya National Park, Cinnamon Habarana Lodge and Habarana Village by Cinnamon (collectively known as the Cinnamon Habarana Complex) offer guests matchless opportunities to witness this awe-inspiring event. The Gathering of Giants event hosted by Cinnamon Hotels & Resorts together with Cinnamon Nature Trails and Seylan Bank, aims to treasure, conserve and celebrate this natural wonder, emphasising the need for peaceful human-elephant coexistence and effective conflict management.

Deputy Chief Executive Officer and Chief Operating Officer of Cinnamon Hotels & Resorts, Hishan Singhawansha, highlighted the significance of this event, stating, “The Gathering of Giants truly symbolises our commitment to conservation and sustainability. At Cinnamon Hotels & Resorts, we believe in the power of education and awareness to drive positive change. Through our collaboration with Cinnamon Nature Trails, we strive to champion conservation efforts and promote the importance of harmonious human-elephant coexistence.”

This signature event aligns perfectly with the ethos of Cinnamon Hotels & Resorts. The annual gathering, occurring from July to October, sees smaller elephant herds from surrounding habitats congregate at Minneriya and Kaudulla National Parks. This congregation, fueled by the diminishing water and food resources in other areas, provides a spectacular sight as the elephants socialise, bathe, drink, feed and potentially find mates. Recognised as the sixth-largest animal gathering globally by Lonely Planet and acclaimed by BBC and CNN, this natural phenomenon offers visitors a unique and memorable experience.

Area Vice President, Sri Lanka Resorts & General Manager of Cinnamon Bentota Beach, Johan Aschan, emphasised the event’s impact, stating, “The Gathering of Giants significantly enhances the appeal of the Cinnamon Habarana Complex as a key player in sustainable tourism. By promoting this extraordinary natural event, we not only draw attention to the unique wildlife experiences Sri Lanka offers but also highlight our dedication to preserving these experiences for future generations.”

The Gathering of Giants event will feature local and international guest speakers, including a celebrated wildlife conservationist and author from India, Valmik Thapar, the Guest Speaker at the event who has dedicated over 48 years to wildlife and tiger conservation, authoring 39 books and serving on multiple government committees, including the National Board of Wildlife and the Prime Minister’s Tiger Task Force. Other leading experts speaking at the Gathering of Giants will include Dr. Prithiviraj Fernando – Chairman, Trustee and Scientist for the Center for Conservation and Research; Elephant Ethologist & Lead of the National Action Plan for Human-Elephant Conflict Mitigation Project Dr. Sumith Pilapitiya and Dr. Rohan Pethiyagoda, Sri Lankan biodiversity scientist and recent winner of the Linnean Medal. These experts will provide insights into the importance of conserving the elephant gathering and its significance to Sri Lanka.

Together with Cinnamon Nature Trails, the wildlife and nature-based tourism arm of Cinnamon Hotels & Resorts, and in collaboration with Seylan Bank, the Gathering of Giants event highlights Cinnamon Hotels & Resorts’ commitment to environmental sustainability and conservation. Through strategic initiatives and educational efforts, Cinnamon Hotels & Resorts aims to safeguard and celebrate the elephant gathering, ensuring it remains a cherished natural wonder for future generations.

The Gathering of Giants is not just an event; it is a testament to the beauty of nature and the importance of preserving it. By aligning the Cinnamon Habarana Complex with this extraordinary phenomenon, Cinnamon Hotels & Resorts continues to promote sustainable tourism and enhance the global recognition of Sri Lanka’s unique wildlife heritage.

Image Caption:

Cinnamon Hotels & Resorts presents the Gathering of Giants (L-R): Hishan Singhawansa- Deputy CEO & Chief Operating Officer of Cinnamon Hotels & Resorts, Dr. Prithiviraj Fernando – Chairman, Trustee & Scientist – Center for Conservation and Research Sri Lanka, Chitral Jayatilake – Vice President Cinnamon Nature Trails, Asiri Abhayaratne – Assistant General Manager Marketing & Sales Seylan Bank, Ruchith Liyanage – Head of Seylan Cards & Vimukthi Weeratunga – Consultant Cinnamon Nature Trails, Wildlife & Fisheries Biologist.


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