By Rohan Abeyawardena
The Tourism Ministry has come up with a massive project prepared by the Urban Development Authority, to meet the severe demand for land to build new hotels in the Trincomalee District due to increasing inflow of tourists, with the ending of the war.
Tourism Ministry Secretary George Michael said yesterday that approximately 500 to 600 acres of state land along an eight-kilometre stretch of the Kuchchaveli coast has been set aside for the new tourism development project in the East.
The plan includes in addition to hotels, public and recreational areas and new access roads. The development of public areas will be undertaken by the Tourism Development Authority, the successor to the Sri Lanka Tourist Board, Michael said
Recently the government ordered a halt to haphazard alienation of state land there, which were allegedly taking place with much corruption.
According to the Ministry Secretary, the bidding for the blocks of land between five to 10 acres each would begin as early as the end of this month. While the proposals and the conceptual designs will be evaluated by the TDA, the allocation of land to each project will be done by the GA and the Land Commissioner.
Planners have envisaged the construction of 10 rooms per acre on average. There are now moves by the industry to expand in other areas in the East such as Kalkudah and Pasikudah, but according to Michael there are no problems in those two areas as there are plenty of private lands there.
Meanwhile, the clamour of the hotel industry to get a waiver on the no liquor rule on the last Poya Day of the year, which falls on December 31, has been rejected by the authorities. So, all hotels having 31st night celebrations can serve liquor only after midnight with the dawning of the New Year.
On another front, the clamour of the hoteliers in Negombo to have a Hikkaduwa type promotional carnival to promote tourism there has got the go ahead and the Ministry Secretary said it would be held before Christmas.
Thanks: The Nation