Specific guidelines are to be set for tourism development zones which will be identified by the authorities, the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority said today.
Sri Lanka has been identified as one of the fast-emerging tourist destinations in the South Asian Region. The island’s biodiversity, long lasted culture, historic monuments, exotic beaches, and evergreen environment can be identified as the key attractions of international tourists.
The end of nearly thirty years long conflict marked a remarkable increase in tourist arrivals. In the current economic landscape of the Asian region, Sri Lanka has a great potential to develop its tourism industry, but the tourism-related infrastructure, the level of services provided and the environmental quality of destinations are yet to achieve its full potential.
However, with the increased tourist arrivals various tourism related or associated activities are mushrooming in around popular tourist destinations. Most of these activities are developed in an irresponsible manner in the absence of proper development guidelines in existing and emerging tourism hubs.
Such developments put invaluable cultural and natural assets at severe risk of degradation. At the same time, there are other locations, of which the potentials have yet to be properly explored for the development of tourism-related activities.
As an initiative to fully utilize these landscapes for tourism purposes, Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority and Urban Development Authority have embarked on a mutual partnership to prepare Tourism Development Master Plans for identified areas across the country.
Areas will be identified as ‘tourism development zones’ and provide them with specific guidelines for tourism development and tourist-related activities.
The objective of this initiative is to set specific guidelines for tourism development and for tourism-related activities to avoid ad-hoc tourism development and to avoid undesirable activities. Moreover, to encourage thematic developments catering to specific tourist segments and develop a proper monitoring mechanism to ensure sustainability.
The zoning plans are to be prepared for the following tourism zones in two (2) phases in a span of 18 months.
- Arugam Bay
S. Hettiarachchi, Secretary of Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife and Christian Religious Affairs, SLTDA Chairman, Kishu Gomes and Director General,Upali Rathnayake, UDA Chairman, Dr. Jagath Munasinghe and Janak Ranaweera, Director Western Province, Research and development were in attendance for the event.