Sri Lanka targets Northeast for tourism expansion

Visit_Sri_Lanka_2011_logoA new tourist hotel and beach resort is to be developed in the North and the East by the Tourism Ministry, which wishes to target tourist expansion within a short period of two to five years.

Resort development, a first of its kind is to be implemented by granting permission to the private sector to build hotels in state-owned lands earmarked in areas of tourist destinations. This was disclosed by Director General, Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau, S.Kalaiselvam when he addressed the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce Forum this week on public-private sector dialogue in facilitating private sector investment in these two provinces.

The resort development concept which is at the consultation phase is expected to cover 4,000 acres and long stretches of unutilized coastline aiming at the upper end of the tourist market. Some areas on the east coast have already attracted investors who have expressed willingness to start tourism projects.

The pristine beaches of Kalkudah and Passekudah are popular with adventure travellers while Britons will be prominent among travellers who plan to visit Arugam Bay.

Taking this into consideration, the Tourism Ministry has unveiled plans to allocate 500 acres of state-owned land in the Trincomalee District and the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau has so far received five hotel projects. “Thirteen beach resorts are to be built in another 150 acres in Passekudah.

These investors should build tourist hotels within one and half years,” Mr. Kalaiselvam said. The government will also go ahead with the Kalpitiya tourist resort project. The development at Kalpitya, which is across the lagoon from Wilpattu National Park, is scheduled to open in 2011.

Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture of the Eastern Provincial Council, V. Pathmanathan said that Rs. 5,000 million has been made available from a Japanese fund amounting to a maximum of Rs. 30 million for each investor who is willing to start industrial or agricultural projects in the Eastern province through the Bank of Ceylon Branches. Dr. Mervyn Jayakody, Manager Investment Promotions of BOI disclosed that a new package of incentives including a 15 year tax holiday has been devised to attract investors to the North and East.

“We are sure that tourism and agriculture and fisheries will play a key role in reviving the economy of the country and will in particular benefit the people of the North and the East,” he said.

Thanks: SundayTimes

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