DIARY: Travis shuns tranquil Torbay and winds up shaking in Sri Lanka

You’d think Peter Travis, of Travis Sennett Sully Ross, might know a thing or two about tourism, what with his agency’s long-running campaign extolling the delights of the English Riviera.

You’d think Peter Travis, of Travis Sennett Sully Ross, might know a

thing or two about tourism, what with his agency’s long-running campaign

extolling the delights of the English Riviera.



But Travis and his wife, Carole, rejected Torbay’s sybaritic lure for

Sri Lanka, where independence-seeking Tamil Tigers embarked on a new

bout of nastiness barely 24 hours after they landed.



By the time the couple had motored to the island’s ancient northern city

of Anaradapura, the guerrillas had torched the refineries near Colombo,

destroying a third of the country’s oil reserves.



This necessitated a quick exit, helped by the local army commander who

obviously didn’t want the embarrassment of any British tourists stopping

a stray bullet.



Next came a series of road blocks manned by government troops. ‘They

weren’t threatening,’ Travis says. ‘But you get very nervous when a 20-

year-old is pointing a Kalashnikov at you, even if he is friendly and

courteous.’



Actually, Travis has found himself staring down a gun barrel once

before, in Montreal, where the police thought the house in which he was

staying was supposed to be empty. And the Mountie wasn’t having any

Quebec Libre nonsense. ‘He said if I’d been a French Canadian he’d have

shot me!’



And would he go back to Sri Lanka? ‘Oh yes. The people are lovely and

the island beautiful.’ Sounds like a pitch for its tourism business

might be imminent - once Travis has changed his underpants.