By:Staff WriterColombo (LNW): President Ranil Wickremesinghe expressed his belief that the tourism industry would significantly contribute to the country’s foreign exchange earnings in the coming decade.
The President highlighted that comprehensive plans had already been formulated to enhance Sri Lanka’s appeal as a tourist destination and stressed that promoting tourism could lead to an increase in per capita income.
He also emphasized the importance of collaborative efforts among all the BIMSTEC countries to develop the BIMSTEC region into a thriving tourism hub, transcending national borders.
He was speaking at the “Transcending Borders – Transforming Lives” program organized by the Indian Tourism Federation at the Bandaranaike International Memorial Conference Hall in Colombo Thursday (06),
Addressing the event, Gopal Bagle, the Indian High Commissioner to Sri Lanka, announced the expansion of flights between Chennai and Jaffna, which now operates only four times a week, to begin operations on a daily basis starting from July 16.
He further mentioned ongoing efforts to resume the long-discontinued ferry service between the two nations, which had remained inactive for several decades Out liming future tourism development plans the president disclosed that Sri Lanka is to exploit new tourism from the 2.5 million to go to 5 million to start with.
It is now looking at the upper end of the markets. Why not have $500 a night to $1,000 a night? We have got to learn from Maldives, the smallest of the South Asian countries. We are trying to put 7 more golf courses in, make Nuwara Eliya the centre of golf, he added.
The government has identified Anew site in Dedduwa in the South , over 1000 acres with water, d for very environmentally friendly tourism.
Another one is next to Horton Plains, another 900 acres which will be another forest reserve where you can have 5-star luxury accommodation.
There are many other places where yachts and yachting will start, with Mannar as one of the headquarters, throughout the Jaffna Lagoon, down into Trincomalee and further down.
It will exploit the railway in different ways, just like you have gone up to Ella. Moreover, we want to hand over a large number of plantation bungalows for boutique hotels.
So there are going to be more and more items that we will add on to it. Food items, dance items, to make Sri Lanka truly known as a worthwhile tourist destination.
The government expects to attract many visitors from Asia, including India, East Asia, South Asia, and West Asia, because it is easier for them to travel. We will open up the Eastern Province, and there will be apartments available for purchase where you can directly stay near the beaches of the Eastern Province.The laws will be changed to accommodate our plans.