Sri Lanka earmarks areas for tourism development
Sri Lanka recently announced plans to develop between five and eight themed tourism development zones. The plan, which will be completed in approximately five years, has the dual objective of encouraging international tourism to Sri Lanka, as well as bringing in foreign investment. Sri Lanka hopes the initiative will bring 5 million additional tourists to the country by 2020.
In a bid to bring foreign investment and increased numbers of tourists to the country, Sri Lanka has announced plans to develop a series of themed tourism development zones. More than 600 hectares of government-owned land will be set aside for the development of between five and eight “Themed International Tourism and Family Entertainment Zones.” The planned zones include beaches, mountains, and forested regions, each selected for its natural beauty.
The Sri Lanka Tourism Club is assisting various government ministries in developing the zones and in encouraging foreign investment. The complete, detailed plan is scheduled to be unveiled at the inaugural Asia Hotel & Tourism Investment Conference in Colombo.
Tourism John Amaratunga explained that Sri Lanka’s tourism industry is driven by the private sector, with the government functioning largely as a regulator and monitor. The Tourism Club further hopes to encourage international investment by introducing reforms which will reduce bureaucracy.
Amarantunga further stated that Sri Lanka hopes to generate as much as US$10 billion in international tourism revenue by 2020, with five million foreign visitors. It is expected that the number of available hotel rooms in the country will double within the same period.
The first of the tourism zones to be developed is Lanka Patuna, 180 hectares of beachfront land which is already under construction. The area will eventually house up to 30 luxury hotels.
A teardrop-shaped country at the southern tip of India, Sri Lanka is beloved among travellers for its stunning natural beauty. A small country, Sri Lanka boasts eight UNESCO World Heritage Sites and over 1300 kilometres of coastline, much of which is untouched. The country is home to 22 national parks, and the Sri Lanka’s first wildlife preserve is said to have been created in the 3rd century BC. The most well-known of the country’s national parks, Yala, is home to perhaps the most diverse collection of wildlife in the country, including a large elephant population.
Beyond its natural beauty, Sri Lanka has an ancient culture and its ties to Buddhism are deeply ingrained in its people. One of the country’s most remarkable events is the annual Festival of the Sacred Tooth, one of the largest and most elaborate Buddhist festivals in the world.
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