Some of the products of Arugam Bay Handicrafts (Pvt) Ltd.The tourism sector is not threatened by the war and the number of tourist arrivals has increased during the past two months. Tourism in the Eastern Province will develop if there are more domestic aircraft services, said Managing Director Arugam Bay Travels and Tours (Pvt) Ltd., A.M. Jaufer.
Arugam Bay which offers the best setting for discerning visitors with its stretch of sandy beaches is a popular tourist destination for water sports, wind surfing, surf riding, snorkelling, scuba diving and bird watching.

The Lahugala National Park for elephants, historical sites such as the Magual Maha Viharaya, Mudu Maha Viharaya and the Kudimbigala Viharaya and the Kumana Bird Sanctuary are some of the prime sites for tourism in the East.

The East coast stretching over 300 kilometres rated as the best sea coast in the country is one of the main tourist attractions. The East coast season spans from April to October.

The tourist season in the Eastern Province begins in April and continues up to November. The annual tourist arrivals in Arugam Bay are over 2,500.

A?a??A?The number of tourists visiting the East can be increased with better infrastructure and hotel facilitiesA?a??A?, Jaufer said.

Roads, electricity, water supply and other infrastructure facilities will be developed under the Nagenahira Navodaya program.

Arugam Bay Travels and Tours will receive an award for responsible tourism at this yearA?a??a??s World Travel Mart at the ExCell Exhibition Centre in London.

Honoured with the Brand Excellence Award at the 2006 SLIM Awards for his enterprise, Jaufer also runs the Arugam Handicrafts (Pvt) Ltd. which was launched in 2005. A?a??A?Helping rural women to develop their cottage crafts will be more beneficial to the cottage industry than encouraging women to leave their homes to work in institutionsA?a??A?, Jaufer said.

He said it was after the tsunami that people realised the potential of the rich natural resources that surrounds them besides the sea.

The objective in launching the organisation is to provide employment to make quality products and capture international markets.

Arugam Bay Handicrafts was launched realising the raw material available in the area which could be turned out into handicrafts and utility items, he said. Sea shells, coconut shells, A?a??E?hanaA?a??a?? (hemp) and reed growing close to the sea shore are turned out into attractive handicrafts to delight local and foreign tourists.

Colourful hemp mats in varying sizes and patterns for carpets, wall hangers, mats, bags, baskets, table mats and ladle holders are some of the other items produced by the organisation.

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