The Ministry of Tourism will invest over Rs. 519 million for tourism development projects this year. The need for engaging in work so that tourist attraction is protected when developing infrastructure facilities in tourist zones was also emphasized.
Minister of Tourism Prasanna Ranatunga has advised officials to pay special attention regarding this when the annual development plan of the Ministry of Tourism is being implemented. A sum Rs. 100 million has been allocated for the development of historic Dutch Forts while Rs. 37 million has been reserved for developing current tourist attraction venues. The renovation of ancient forts in Mannar, Kalpitiya and Batticaloa has already commenced. Also, a sum of Rs. 265 million has been set aside for constructing 30 intermediate houses in the vicinity of the Madhu Church in Mannar and it is a joint project between Sri Lanka and India.
In a bid to offer more infrastructure facilities Rs. 62 million has been reserved for developing railway stations that attract tourists. The Minister gave these instructions during a discussion held yesterday to inquire into the progress of development projects being carried out by the Ministry of Tourism. A number of development projects under developing infrastructure facilities at places of tourist attraction, including construction of the approach path to Yala Galge, the viewing platform at Madulsima, Small World’s End and development of infrastructure facilities for tourists visiting Bopath Ella have already commenced.
With the intention of developing the HR aspect Rs. 45 million has been set aside for the development of human resources in the field of tourism.
This initiative training of those engaged in the field of tourism, covering all provinces of the island is already underway. By March 31, 1042 persons had received training at 21 centers in 11 districts. A sum of Rs. 10 million has been allocated for the tourist village projects.
Under the community-based tourist village’s project, seven tourist villages are in operation. Arrangements have been made to introduce seven new websites in relation to these tourist villages. Under the programme to modernize railway stations, Badulla, Bandarawela and Nuwara Eliya Railway Stations are being modernized. Expressing his views, Minister Prasanna Ranatunga strongly emphasized the need to implement tourism development work jointly by the Ministry of Tourism and the Tourism Development Authority.
Due to this development work being carried out based on requirements of officials on certain occasions, the Minister who pointed out that various conflicts arise, also emphasized that when infrastructure facilities are constructed in tourist zones,they should bedone so that tourist attraction were protected. Secretary to the Ministry of Tourism, S. Hettiarachchi, Additional Secretary Deepa Sannasooriya and Chairperson of the Tourism Development Authority Kimali Fernando also expressed their views.