All eyes on tourism

….. Where can i buy zaditor eye drops Arugambay, which is one of the most beautiful beaches in the world……

Charumini de Silva The tourism industry has been very excited during the post war scenario. Much attention has been given to the sector from both public and private sector, PATA International and Jetwing Hotels Chairman Hiran Cooray said. Speaking on a??Sri Lanka Tourism: a??Opportunities and Challengesa?? organized by the Council for Business with Britain (CBB) yesterday, he said Asia was the first to recover from the global financial downturn and has shown a tremendous growth trend in this region. Sri Lanka, India and Nepal are leading the way performing well above the

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projected targets.

Hiran Cooray

However Sri Lanka is still in the foundation level and many more things have to improve in the tourism industry sector. a??Recognizing the potential in the industry, Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) is planning to set up a one-stop-shop where all subjects could be solved under one-roof and the banking sector is supporting the industry providing loan approvals are encouraging. a??The gold rush is now in the Eastern coastlines as there are virgin beaches from Kalpitiya to Arugambay, which is one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. It is timely that interested parties should build hotels while ensuring ecological sustainability. At present there are only two new hotels that have ongoing building processes in the Eastern coast. It is important that hoteliers be concern of on the trends and needs of the travellers when setting up hotels newly or refurbishing them,a?? Cooray said. At present there are only 14,000 hotel rooms in the market. In achieving a target of 2.5 million tourist arrivals by 2016, the industry needs to increase the number of rooms to 35,000 to 40,000 in the years to come. There is a positive trend with graduates joining the hotel sector. This will facilitate in having qualified management in the hotel sector. We also need to attract employees in the Middle East countries and in Maldives. Sri Lanka Institute of Tourism and Hotel Management (SLITHM) is playing a vital role in building the human resource capacity,a?? he said. The silver market, senior travellers are an important segment for Sri Lanka. Nevertheless, we have not facilitated much on our products and services to cater to this category. More accessibility for disabled, single parents and independent traveller segments has to be addressed immediately, as they expect more hospitality,a?? Cooray said. There is a huge prospective for green travel where wildlife, beaches and mountains are concerned. With the number of tourist arrivals showing a continuous growth trend, the industry and the authorities should cope in setting up places for tourists to spend time relaxing or engaging in some activities. a??We need to address the historically important places such as Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa and Sigiriya as destinations where travellers will feel much space in spending time. Therefore Cooray said more boutique hotels, restaurants and places to spend time are needed. Internal flights will cater to the high-end travellers, as they are time concerned. The proposal of putting up floating air planes by the SriLankan Airlines is a timely decision in attracting all segments of travellers. Civil Aviation Authoritya??s (CAASL) Air Transport and Legal Affairs Deputy Director Rayhan Wanniappa said international airlines have a positive vision in our tourism industry. a??Three new airlines from China, Egypt and India have commenced operations recently. Five new charters will be operated during the winter season,a?? he said.

3 Responses to “All eyes on tourism”

  • To Whom It May Concern,
    I am just writing to show my disgust in a plan to move Ramani Visaka off her land in Arugam Bay. This lady has been on this land for 45 years, has a permit for this land & has stayed there during the entire time of the civil war in Sri Lanka. Now that the war has finished and tourism is starting to boom everybody wants her land. There is no talk of compensating her for this land. Just turn up and bulldoze it, what a disgrace!
    I met Ramani & her family in 1981, when I stayed at Siripala’s Place for three months, this family treated me like I was part of their family. They have struggled for years to look after their large family & since the passing of Siripala in 1999; Ramani has worked extremely hard to keep the family together. I returned many times and eventually married one of Ramani’s daughters.
    Since our marriage, Ramani has been subject to harassment and bullying from some sections of the local community, who are jealous, thinking that we are rich. We live in Australia, where things are much more expensive & the cost of living is higher, we also struggle to pay bills & schooling etc.
    After the tsunami, no-one helped this family because they had two daughters who lived in Australia, that were rich, according to these locals. We did help out as much as we could but it was very upsetting seeing people who had nothing before the tsunami now had boats & houses being given to them. Whereas Ramani, received nothing from all those millions of dollars raised overseas to help these victims.
    We returned last year, 2009, five years after the tsunami & half of Ramani’s block of land was still under water. She was getting no business because of the smell of the dirty water lying on her land. While we were there, we decided to fill this land up to give her a chance of rebuilding her business. It cost 250,000 rupees & it took 55 trucks to fill that area of land.
    Now that there are a number of successful surfing competitions in the area, attracting large numbers of tourists, some bureaucrat has decided to bulldoze this ladies livelihood & take her land from her, to build a road to the surfing point. This is just unbelievable & I, along with many others, will be fighting hard to stop this happening. I will be lobbying your Government officials, radio & newspapers & the World Media to show Ramani’s problem. I even know some of the organisers of the WQS Surfing Contest & if this plan to kick Ramani off her land happens, I will be asking them not return to your country.
    Should anyone wishes to contact me in reference to this matter, My e-mail address is Please feel free to contact me as I will not rest until some sort of moral justice has been served.
    Yours Sincerely,
    David Mooney (25/09/10)

  • Lanka’s tourist treats are largely daytime affairs

    On seeing a news alert on my mobile phone that said, “Visa-on-arrival facility cancelled for foreigners” (which was subsequently withdrawn) I could not help but wonder why we go out of our way to make things difficult for visitors who bring revenue to our poor country.

    I called a friend in England to ask how Sri Lanka was perceived in the UK as a holiday destination. He said the British consider Sri Lanka as among the best of travel destinations, especially during the winter season.

    But he did say a few things that made me wonder about the future of tourism in this country.
    All our hotels are classified as “star class”, and prices go up by 200 to 300 per cent in the peak season.

    Some hotels in the South charge more than US$550 a night for an air-conditioned room. But are our rooms really worth US$500 dollars? Is it fair to charge so much?

    It is one thing to cover losses incurred during a time when tourist arrivals were at an all-time low, but it is quite another to overcharge and put off potential visitors who could be bringing us much-needed revenue.

    Tourists who are overcharged will not come back as repeat guests. One visit alone is not enough to see Sri Lanka. Tourists should be encouraged to come back. Sri Lanka’s tourist attractions are largely day-time affairs – swimming in the sea, tanning on the beach, going on safaris, visiting ancient cities. When the sun goes down, the day ends for the overseas guest. We have no night life as such to offer them.

    If tourists want to see ruins, they can go to Egypt or Greece. If they want to see wildlife, they can head to South Africa, Zimbabwe or Kenya. If they come here, then we should give them a total holiday experience.

    Outside Colombo, there are no shopping malls. Even in Colombo, we can boast of only two decent malls. We provide no tourist-quality entertainment.

    There is a great need for some form of nightlife at our major tourist towns and centres. There should be at least a shopping mall and a cinema complex, a couple of bars and a disco. Even an evening laser show would be a help.

    Dilina Gunathilake, Via email.
    (A letter to the editor,Sunday Times)

  • Jacquelynne Smith

    Please do some promotions here in Australia as we seem to be very much in the dark about what is going on in Sri Lanka with regards to tourism.. Thank God for our Sri Lankan network of old friends who keep us posted and also bbecause we travel to Sri Lanka every year… India, Mauritius and Malaysia are cashing in on the Aussie travel market in a big way.. please spend some time on this…

    Best wishes,

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