We want a people based tourism to flourish in the East!
Sri Lanka Tourism in its attempt to develop the East, now liberated after the 22 years of war in the region has set in place a process to fast track development. Regions listed are: of Pasikudah, Arugambay, Trincomalee, Nilaveli, Waakarai, Verugal and Kalkudah.
The appointment of the Eastern Province Tourism Development Committee was officially announced last week at a press conference held at the Ministry of Tourism under the patronage of Deputy Minister of Tourism, Faiszer Musthapha who handed over the letter of appointment to Eastern Chief Minister Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan as the member of the committee, to take forward the development work to empower the tourism sector of the East. Leading business persons were also appointed as members of the committee to fast track activities.
Stressing the importance of the committee, Deputy Minister said, ?We need the East, since it has lots to offer for the tourism sector and we have focused on accelerating the development of the Eastern Province within a specific time frame. East, ravaged by the war for 22 years, is now freed and we have a vision to develop the East under the guidance of Tourism Minister, Milinda Moragoda. In a similar manner we intend to work along with other provinces with the help of chief ministers in encouraging tourism development. Sri Lanka Tourism is glad to have the Chief Minister of East, working towards achieving this goal.
Secretary to the Ministry, George Michael in his address said, "We will be taking a lead role in development sharing the power and resources with all provinces and an event like the JATA Fair in Tokyo, where the Eastern Chief Minister attended, set the path to tell the country the model of sharing power and resources".
Eastern Chief Minister said, "We are prepared to work in unity towards our future goals. Development of the East will surely improve the living condition of the people. To begin with, we will work on the development of areas like Kalkudah, Pasikudah, Arugam Bay and Nilaveli . As we all know East is blessed with many touristic attractions and it will enable us to reestablish those areas to bring direct benefit to the community, that will make the area more attractive for international vistiors to Sri Lanka."
Chairman of Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau, Renton de Alwis, spoke of the need for a new approach in ensuring wider benefits to the people of the area. He said that already the concept of establishing rooms in homes in the East, a concept where homes can accommodate guests has got the nod from several donor agencies. This will be a way to develop a truly community based tourism in the east, which ideally fits the new tourism demand, where visitors seek interaction with people and want to learn of their lifestyles, he said.
Director General, Tourism Authority and Managing Director, Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau also spoke at the press briefing.