By:Staff WriterColombo (LNW): President Ranil Wickremesinghe has mooted the ‘Greater Yala’ concept which will promote Yala and areas around it.
Speaking after inaugurating the Hilton Yala Resort, the President said that Yala must be promoted as a unified tourist destination by incorporating nearby areas.
“Why are you going to call these places Udawalawe, Kumana and all? These are all connected, and the elephant path passage from Udawalawe will take you up to Kumana. So, let’s brand this as Greater Yala and make it Greater Yala for all promotional activities,” the President said.
The President advised the Minister of Tourism, together with the Minister of Wildlife and Conservation, as well as the officials of those two ministries, to come up with the Greater Yala concept.
“Additionally, an intriguing prospect lies in establishing wildlife reserves that offer visitors a fresh and unique experience, reminiscent of the offerings in countries like India and Nepal. This avenue warrants significant attention as we formulate a new strategy to elevate the tourism industry,” the President said.
He also said that it is essential that Sri Lanka set ambitious targets for the tourism sector, with the goal of doubling the influx of tourists to the country.
Correspondingly, he said, the revenue generated from tourism should witness a four to fivefold increase.
The President also said that international performers are expected to visit Sri Lanka during the upcoming Christmas and New Year season.
Tourist accommodations across the nation are experiencing high occupancy rates in September, buoyed by the historic Dalada Perehara and the Asian Cup cricket tournament in Kandy.
The upcoming Christmas season is anticipated to draw several internationally renowned artists and musicians, including the distinguished Western musician Andrey Mucher, slated to grace our shores in January.
The country hosts a myriad of events, such as the Galle Literary Festival, strategically designed to attract more visitors and generate vital revenue for the nation.
Numerous innovative proposals have been introduced to expedite the progress of our tourism sector. Notably, the government is working to extend support for individuals willing to allocate two rooms in their homes for tourists, providing excellent guest services while commanding rates upwards of a hundred dollars.
Meanwhile, President Ranil Wickremesinghe also embarked on an inspection tour of the Yala National Park. During the visit, he highlighted the option of purchasing park tickets online for both local and foreign visitors.
Recalling the historical significance of the area, President Ranil Wickremesinghe alluded to the ancient shrines of Situlpawwa and Akasha Chaitya that once graced the Yala region.
He praised the past fertility and collaboration that defined the area, as well as its remarkable architectural marvels.
The President emphasized a resolute commitment to advancing the tourism industry, urging collective participation towards this goal. He envisioned the development of the Yala area as a unified tourist destination, incorporating nearby regions like Udawalawe. This interconnected approach, he suggested, would drive progress and further enhance the tourism experience in the region, the statement added.