Lanka ready to face tourist influx

  • 18 Feb 2010 22:52:59 GMT

    Get the head line getting ready get it no I suppose not?

  • 19 Feb 2010 04:29:16 GMT

    [The second project will be in Pasikudah for a 13-hotel project with a 1,000 room capacity]

    Very good plan.

    At the moment there isn`t ANY hotel in the regions of Pasikudah and Kalkudah.

  • 20 Feb 2010 17:17:52 GMT

    Oh no, these guys are going to spoil my favourite beach in Sri Lanka (Passikudah Bay)

  • 20 Feb 2010 21:12:38 GMT

    Tourism strategy for poverty reduction -

    [Caroline Ashley, Harold Goodwin and Dilys Roe through their work on Pro-Poor Tourism Strategies (PPT) shed some light on the need to ensure passing of tourism benefits to peripherals and to the masses which obviously is the political interest of any Government of the day.

    Although vertical integration that takes place in a natural business environment enables growth and sustainability of tourism in general, it could be perceived as cartels that control the market and prices in general. Unfortunately the statistics do not show the real indirect benefits to the nation that need to be projected to assist policy making.

    The research carried out in South Africa, Namibia, Uganda, Nepal, St. Lucia and Ecuador deals with the subject of pro-poor tourism (PPT) that generates net benefits for the poor. PPT is an overall approach, rather than aiming to expand the size of the sector. This approach is to unlock opportunities hitherto not seen and exploited.

    As Sri Lanka has entered a new era and tourism has already started taking off, the subject is relevant at a time the authorities contemplate on product development particularly areas that have opened up for tourism. A vital part of product development is for economic gains to enhance the livelihood of the poor in the areas earmarked for development.

    Tourism that is on a development path is expected to increase employment and reduce poverty. To achieve this in a true sense, the guidelines would identify the characteristics, one of which is labour intensive scale inclusive of women and the involvement of informal sector tourism thus harnessing tourism for pro-poor growth.

    The previous case studies show in some countries that pro poor tourism strategies have not helped generating new opportunities and benefits for the poor. When this happens tourism will not seem so valuable to the people and so to the politicians. The public support for the industry will gradually diminish.

    Easier said than done, so one may ask how such strategies are implemented to please all stakeholders including the informal sectors. The first step is said to be that those involved in planning tourism - policy makers, planners, businesses, consultants incorporate pro-poor concerns at all levels.]

  • 20 Feb 2010 21:13:31 GMT

    [Theoretically it is explained as bottom-up social mobilization to top-down investment packaging. Pro poor tourism thus goes beyond community tourism. It calls for diversity of actions, from planning, policy making, product and development, marketing.

    The driving force of this understanding of the need to serve the poor, begins from the planning stage with the involvement of stakeholders, particularly when developing new locations and products and integrating them into the mainstream of tourism activities.

    The private sector naturally demands business viability of any tourism venture in terms of the demand, product quality, service standards and skills. The customer orientation is a pre-requisite for business sustainability that forces them to meet certain business standards.

    Private sector will therefore expect State support to harness social needs through various encouragements and incentives. For instance external funding may be required to cover the costs of partnerships and developing skills in rural areas.

    Unless the youth in the areas of development are skilled , it will not be possible for them to be engaged when the products are ready for operations. This is similar to Safaris that are organized with equity share with neighbouring experts thus bringing in high percentage of local staff and supports culturally-based local attractions.

    ILO Director-General Juan Somavia - through his work Reducing poverty through tourism also raises some valuable points. It touches on Barriers to tourism benefiting poor people with examples. Apart from low literacy and poor job skills, the gender norms affect the women from working in the tourism sector. This must be overcome through education.]

  • 20 Feb 2010 21:14:48 GMT

    [The lack of finance, micro credit, or loan facilities to set up enterprises as well as seasonal variations may affect smaller business. In addition many poor communities may live remote from places where tourism flourishes and they lose the access to the products to do any business.

    Indirect employment can be made possible if the area is simultaneously developed as a tourism village not only with supply units, shops but also entertainment. They require technical advice, support and particularly understanding of the tourism industry and a marketing drive.

    The quality of food produced in nearby areas may not be suitable for tourists. This is a concern of hoteliers. Another point is that communities may be unaware of tourist expectations which is partly caused by lack of language skills.

    Somavia s recommendations include a) Encouraging dispersion of tourism to poor areas, through infrastructural investment and marketing, b) Revising regulations that impede the poor in employment or small business, and support small business more generally and c) Consulting with residents when making decisions about tourism in their areas.

    Some developing countries have the problem of admitting that the country is in the developing stage. In tourism activities for instance, the visitors would be more than happy to engage themselves in an activity that would help the poor as part of their holiday. They return with the pleasant feeling that they have done something worthwhile in the country while having a holiday.]

  • 20 Feb 2010 21:58:04 GMT

    Sinhalese influx into Tamil heartland of Jaffna

    [The northern Tamil heartland of Jaffna, which had been inaccessible by land since 1990, is experiencing a post-conflict Sinhalese tourist influx from south Sri Lanka.

    Though it brings loads of money into Jaffna, it puts tremendous pressure on the limited facilities and infrastructure in existence, giving rise to fears of health hazards.

    A majority of the southern visitors are Buddhist pilgrims going to the ancient Nagadeepa Buddha Vihara, associated with one of Buddha s visits to Sri Lanka. But there are a large number of traders and casual visitors too. The place is still not open to foreigners, though a few travel with clearance from the Ministry of Defence in Colombo.

    The Sinhalese traders are doing brisk business, mostly satisfying the sartorial fancies of the younger Tamil hoi polloi. `Business is good and the Tamil people of Jaffna are the nicest in Sri Lanka,` said 30-year-old Rohitha selling children s and ladies clothes.

    `We have been here only for a few weeks but we are making good profit,` he said.

    The boarding and lodging facilities expected by the visitors seem to be minimal.

    Since most of them are Buddhist pilgrims from the lower middle classes, they seem to be quite happy to sleep in the stands of the Duraiappah Stadium, a converted camping site which receives 20 bus loads of people everyday.

    The pilgrims, all in white, cook their own meals in pots and pans brought from the south. The Jaffna municipality keeps filling the water tanks, so there is no water shortage.

    In places like Achchuveli, the paddy fields are used as toilets. Jaffna is still not ready to receive middle and upper class visitors. It lacks in decent hotels, lodges or guest houses. The upkeep of the existing hotels is poor even as they charge the earth.

    Houses of those who had migrated to the West are rented out by their caretakers for a few thousand rupees a day.

    Some resident house owners rent out a room or two on a daily basis.

    `The government has to control the influx so that people who come need not put up with poor facilities,` said Jaffna Chamber of Commerce president R Janakumar.]

  • 21 Feb 2010 00:33:02 GMT

    Southerners travel North to see their country -

    Thousands of people from the south of the country are visiting the Jaffna peninsula each week, the influx starting with the recent 24 hour opening of the A 9 road.

    Buddhists are making the journey mainly to visit the historic Nagadeepa Vihara while many others are flocking to see a part of the country they could not visit for nearly 30 years due to security concerns.

    Except for a brief security check at Omanthai, the one time well-known crossing point between Government controlled and LTTE controlled territory, travel is unimpeded on the A 9 road from Vavuniya to Jaffna.

    According to Military Spokesman Maj. Gen. Prasad Samarasinghe, on an average around 35 vehicles carrying local tourists cross Omanthai but traffic increases during weekends. Most people travel as a group in large private buses carrying their cooking utensils and dry rations with them to prepare their own food.

    Sriyani Samarakkody had come with around 60 of her fellow villagers from Kantale to visit Nagadeepa Vihara and see Jaffna last week. This is the first time I am visiting here. People from the north and south have all suffered due to this war but we are glad it is over. We are all people of this country and it is the same blood that flows in all of us, said Sriyani who had gathered with the others at the Duraiappah Stadium overlooking the Jaffna library, while taking a lunch break after visiting the temple.

  • 21 Feb 2010 00:34:03 GMT

    Does she know of the burning of the Jaffna Library in 1981 which remains a deep scar in the wounded relations between the Sinhalese and the Tamils?

    Yes, It s an unforgivable crime, she said adding she prayed at Nagadeepa for such violence never to take place in this country again. Another pilgrim-cum-tourist R.D.K.Leelaratna first visited Nagadeepa Vihara way back in the late 1950s and considers it a great blessing to be able to come back to pray in peace at the sacred Buddhist temple.

    The people here have been very nice to us and have helped us when ever we needed assistance, she said admitting that language remains a barrier to closer interaction.

    However to R.Muralitharan, a former IDP who left the Manik Farm welfare camp in Vavuniya only about a month ago to move in with relatives in Jaffna, language is no barrier for him to engage in his business of selling candy floss to the visitors.

    The only Sinhalese people I had seen before were the soldiers but now I meet many Sinhala people in Jaffna. They are all very nice people, said Muralitharan.

    Many of the pilgrims come with no definite plans as to where they would stay overnight and so make ad hoc sleeping arrangements, many roughing it out in the open at the stadium or at other public halls.

    Jaffna Chamber of Commerce Vice President R.Jaysekeran said that while the influx of tourists is welcome, there needs to be better organized facilities for their convenience.

    As development work on the A 9 road continues along with the reconstruction of the railway line between Vavuniya and Jaffna, the number of people visiting the area is likely to increase in the weeks ahead.

    Now the A 9 is busier than Galle Road, remarked a driver who does regular runs on the road.

    It bodes well for the future given the fast thawing relations between two communities, who were separated by a cruel war for several decades.