Independent tailor-made holidays to Sri Lanka & Maldives
How we started
In the land of Serendib, one of Sri Lanka's past names taken from serendipity, meaning "discovery by happy accident", John Beswetherick met Pathi (S.G. Pathirana) on his first trip to the island in 1999. Forming an instant bond and becoming close friends, John and Pathi decided to go into business together as JB Pathi Tours, buying a minibus and starting tours of the country in February 2000. With growing interest in Sri Lanka holidays, Tikalanka, the online tailor-made travel specialist, was launched in 2004. Since then Tikalanka has extended its reach to Maldives, just an hour and a half's flight from Sri Lanka and another unique and idyllic travel experience.
Who we are
In the UK
After careers in biomedical research and pharmaceutical marketing interspersed with extensive world travel, John has been a regular feature in Sri Lanka for over 20 years, encouraging family and friends to experience the delights the island has to offer. Now based in Cumbria, John fronts Tikalanka with support from his architect wife Tracey Hart. His passion for travel and his love of Sri Lanka combine to give John extensive expertise in creating bespoke holidays for customers looking for a special experience. John's annual trip to Sri Lanka enhances his local knowledge and expands the options available to customers as well as giving him the opportunity to meet up with the Pathiranas and savour Suba's delicious home-cooked food!
In Sri Lanka
Pathi was born and grew up in the south of the island but Kandy in the Hill Country has been his home for over 30 years. He is married to Suba and they have two children, Mahesh and Dihini, who now helps out with Tikalanka when she's not studying.
A founding partner in Tikalanka, Pathi started as a tour driver/guide in 1997 and he enjoys nothing more than showing foreign visitors his beautiful country. He holds a coveted National Guide Lecturer's Licence accredited by the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) and he and Suba run their home as a local homestay guesthouse – Hanthana House – where guests can get an insight into traditional Sri Lankan family life and learn how to prepare and eat local delicacies!
We have a fantastic and dedicated team of Sri Lankan chauffeur guides, all trained and licensed by the SLTDA, most of whom have been with Tikalanka for many years. We would like to offer our heartfelt thanks to Anura, Chathura, Kapila, Mahesh (Ayesh), Nihal, Niroshan, Ravi and Saman for their dedication, professionalism and continuing support.
What we do best
Tikalanka is an independent travel specialist to Sri Lanka and Maldives run by a successful British/Sri Lankan partnership. Our extensive knowledge and experience of the islands are complemented by our ability to organise truly tailor-made holidays to Sri Lanka and Maldives, a flexibility lacking in most travel companies' itineraries.
Tikalanka offers tailor-made holidays and carefully structured introductions to Sri Lanka and Maldives for couples, families or small groups of up to eight persons travelling together – young or old! All holidays include air-conditioned transport with experienced, English-speaking, SLTDA-licensed chauffeur guides specially selected by Tikalanka for their knowledge, professionalism and friendliness. Places to stay have been individually chosen for their ambience, service and comfort, ensuring that you will enjoy and experience genuine Sri Lankan and Maldivian hospitality.
Where we are now
Since the beginning of 2023, Tikalanka has been collaborating with Tropic Breeze on all Sri Lanka and Maldives holidays. Tropic Breeze is a UK-based travel specialist to Maldives, the Caribbean, Seychelles and Mauritius, and Tikalanka has been working with Tropic Breeze in Maldives for the last nine years. After a few very difficult years, this was considered the best way forward for Tikalanka and its valued customers. Tikalanka is now in a strong position to look to the future with renewed confidence.
Tropic Breeze takes all bookings and payments, including by credit card, for holidays with Tikalanka as well as arranges flights, if required. Holidays arranged through Tropic Breeze are fully bonded and protected, whether booked with flights via ATOL 5615 or for accommodation only holidays with ABTA Y5401, which means that your Tikalanka holiday is safe and secure.
As far as Tikalanka is concerned, nothing has changed. John fronts Tikalanka from the UK, although now as an independent travel consultant through Tropic Breeze, and Pathi delivers all holidays in Sri Lanka with the same team of expert guides.
A Big Thank You
We would like to thank a few special people without whom Tikalanka would not exist... and continue to prosper!
In the UK and around the world:
Michael Acord, Againsthegrain, London for designing and developing our distinctive logo, company branding and original brochure.
Sarah Adams, Sydney, a close friend, architect and fellow traveller, who has taken some superb photos around Sri Lanka for our new website and future marketing materials.
Siva Aravindan and Gajan Sai Mahendran, SriLankan Airlines, London for their expert assistance, generous support and friendship from the beginning (we miss you since the London office closed in 2011).
Andrew Armitage, Laura Montgomery and Matt Shearing, A Digital, Kendal for designing and developing our excellent new website and innovative Trip Planner.
Samantha (Sam) Hart, Tracey's sister, has supported us at the annual Destinations holiday and travel show in London since we started (arriving for our very first show in 2005 directly from Heathrow after a 36-hour flight from New Zealand!), and has helped us with our marketing in the past.
Andre Hefer, AVH Services, Lichfield for his expert business advice – another special friend who looks after us!
Elliott John, Deepend Design, Locks Heath for designing and developing our excellent current brochure and much of our marketing and exhibition materials.
Simon Knight, Transpeed, London for his expert IT knowledge and support – a real mate from our university days together in the early '80s!
Celia Mannings, Celia Mannings Photography, Bath for the wonderful images of Sri Lanka included in our current brochure and on our website.
Adam Norbury, Q Branch, London for designing and developing our original website.
Mark Ord, All Points East, Chiang Mai, for planting the seed that later blossomed into Tikalanka during our chance meetings on the road in Laos and in Bangkok back in 2001.
Adrian Rachele, Melbourne for a selection of his beguiling images of Sri Lanka included on our website.
Lesley Schofield, All Points East, Denmead for her very generous initial advice and guidance on the UK travel industry – our original mentor! (and great friend)
In Sri Lanka:
Upul Attanayake and Lokkesh Ramanan, Kandy for their computer skills and technical support as well as their valued friendship!
Senaratne Imiyahamige (Sena), Panadura, who accompanied me as driver guide on our original, fated tour in December 2004, when we were caught up in the Asian Tsunami disaster. A valued guide over many years who we wish future peace and contentment at his temple near Ratnapura.
Prasanjit Perera, Aitken Spence Travels, Colombo (now retired) for always finding the time when we needed advice on the Sri Lankan travel industry – a truly generous, modest and warm-hearted colleague over many years.
Suranga Ratnayake, Aitken Spence Travels, Colombo for his initial expert guidance and support in Maldives, and now for his generosity and friendship back home.
Michael Sansoni, Oruthota Chalets, Kandy for his unending generosity, support and friendship from before our inception, and for his invaluable knowledge of the Sri Lankan travel industry.
Sajith Wijenayake and Tikiri Elepola, Aitken Spence Travels, Colombo for helping us start up the business and their continuing support throughout.