Yaseen Khan refuses to call his business a travel start up or a tech start up. To him, “Long Weekend” is more than just a business. He has an ambitious vision for the brand that will offer a product that has never been witnessed in Sri Lanka before.
With over six years of experience in the inbound travel industry, Yaseen has seen the best and worst in tourism. He recalls his days in his first venture as an entrepreneur, a locally based travel agency, saying, “It was a lot of fun and a great experience. I got to work with people who had more years of experience in the industry than my actual age [he was 24 at that time]. I got to travel very often and to tell people in other countries how great Sri Lanka was.”
However, with time, his passion for impressing foreign individuals about the many wonders Sri Lanka had to offer faded away, as he realized that he’d rather help the very people living in this country to truly understand what an amazing country Sri Lanka was, through travel.
According to Yaseen, it is a fact that, on average, a foreign individual has seen more parts of Sri Lanka than a citizen of the country. Which is true if you actually think about it. Most of us would rather visit another country than actually explore the country we live in. This, Yaseen believes, is because we are conditioned to see ourselves as hosts and never as tourists. We have righteously taken up the responsibility of delivering exceptional hospitality to foreigners who visit Sri Lanka, while forgetting our right to be visitors, or explorers of our own motherland.
He also realized that most people have become ignorant to the true purpose of travel and how much peace and fulfillment it can give to a person. Yaseen himself enjoys simple travel. He doesn’t believe in spending thousands on expensive hotels or meals, but in the value of creating memories and making friends through the places he visits.
His turning point was during a trip to Jaffna, a remedial getaway he took after leaving his previous position as the managing director of the travel agency he operated.
“The two weeks I spent in Jaffna were the best days of my life. I had no specific place to stay and I travelled all over the area and took the opportunity to enjoy the hospitality of the locals. I had no fixed schedule. Everything I did was spontaneous and most importantly pretty affordable, and I loved it. Those two weeks didn’t just inspire me to start Long Weekend, but also reminded me of the healing travel has to offer.”
So what exactly does he do through Long Weekend?
No, he does not offer tours around the country for Sri Lankans.
Instead, he tours around the country with his close friends and documents the experiences that they share. His start up is based on creating travel content that could inspire people to see the true beauty of Sri Lanka and the experiences it has to offer.
In common lingo he calls himself a “Travel Vlogger” and a content creator. He spends his time traveling around the country and collecting amazing content that he hopes to make available to other stakeholders in the industry. His ultimate vision is to make “The Long Weekend” a way of life or a lifestyle brand– A brand that inspires people to live more. He also has many more plans and products yet to be revealed in the future.
Think Sri Lankans aren’t creative enough with start ups? Here’s someone who will definitely prove you wrong.
At Save Your Monkey, we are super excited to see what the future holds for The Long Weekend and wish Yaseen the best of luck.