Plans are afoot to convert Sigiriya into a model tourist village. As a step towards achieving this objective, the Ministry of Tourism together with the Sri Lanka Tourist Board has organized a series of activities to be conducted in Sigiriya to mark World Tourism Day 2005 which falls on 27th September.
`Unlike in the early stages of tourism in Sri Lanka, today international tourists are very much discerning and substantially educated with high spending capacity. Therefore, tourism is a lucrative business. For a government it is a very important economic activity, which immensely supports the country`s economy with foreign exchange, employment and rural development,` Secretary to the Ministry of Tourism Dr. P.Ramanujam told the media. He said celebrating World Tourism Day in Sigiriya signifies the noble objective of strengthening the frienly links between the village community, the tourist and industry partners as it would in turn ensure an uninterrupted flow of financial and social benefits to the local community.
Meanwhile Sri Lanka has agreed to adopt the United Nations Charter on International Tourism Code of Ethics and have obtain Cabinet ratification.
Dr.Ramanujam was confident that the election will not be a barrier fortourist arrivals where the season is to begin from December.
`We see no reason that will lead to a drop in tourist arrivals`, he said.
`We thought to move into a rural setting with the back drop of our archeological heritage with a view to develop a heritage tourism model village. Sigiriya, which is a national icon and a world heritage site was considered to be a launching pad for this purpose`, he said.
A clean and green programme is expected to be launched along the the Inamaluwa Sigiriya road on World Tourism Day. School children environmental groups, village community and tourists will be invited to participate in this shramadana campaign.
The Tourism Ministry has already taken action to install 5 hoardings with messages to create awareness among community on the importance of tourism to their livelihood. A comfort centre constructed at the Namal Uyana by the Sri Lanka Tourist Board with an investement of Rs. 3 million will be opened on this day and a cultural show in the evening will be a special feature of the celebrations.