Colombo - Sri Lanka has announced that it will launch themed tourism development zones across the country to lure more tourists to visit the island nation.
The project is a public-private sector initiative backed by the Ministry of Lands, the Ministry of Tourism and the Sri Lanka Tourism Club, a government-recognised group of industry leaders.
A statement said that at least five to eight “Themed International Tourism and Family Entertainment Zones” are being designated in state-owned land selected for their outstanding natural beauty.
They include beaches, mountains and forest regions, extending over more than 1 500 acres. The full plans will be unveiled at the inaugural Asia Hotel and Tourism Investment Conference (AHTIC) in Colombo in November, organised by Bench Events.
Sri Lanka Tourism Club Chairperson Dr Prabath C. Ukwatte said “We will be working with government ministries to deliver themed international tourism and family entertainment zones, and to open them up for foreign investment. The conference will be an ideal opportunity to explain what we will be doing and to attract international finance.”
The statement said that one of the attractions of the project for investors is that the ownership of the land would be transparent. The developments will include luxury tourism, eco-tourism, wellness and yoga, as well as adventure and family activities.
Tourism Minister John Amaratunga said that Sri Lanka plans to develop more zones in the future, and that the island country aims to attract up to 5 million tourists by 2020 and increase tourism revenue to $10-billion.
That includes doubling the current number of rooms available and creating direct employment for 300 000 people.
He further said that the first zone in a five-year plan, Lanka Patuna, is already under initial construction which covers over 450 acres of beautiful beach land. It will have a capacity for 25 to 30 luxury hotels.