IN a bid to attract more international investors and boost tourist numbers, Sri Lanka will transform potential areas into eight “Themed International Tourism and Family Entertainment Zones”.
These state-owned plots of land covering more than 600 hectares include mountains, beaches and forested areas selected for their “outstanding natural beauty”.
The developments will include luxury tourism, eco-tourism, wellness and yoga, as well as adventure and family activities.
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.
Tourism Minister John Amaratunga said, “Sri Lanka’s tourism industry is very much private-sector driven. The government role is restricted to that of regulator, monitor and facilitator.”
“I have formed an advisory committee of leaders of the travel, tourism and hospitality industries whose input is sought on a regular basis on all matters of national interest in the tourism sector. They are the driving force that guides the industry.
We are accelerating and widening the scope for investors by actively making reforms to reduce bureaucracy. We want to speed up decision-making.”
The minister also said that the island country plans to develop more zones in the future, and attract up to five million tourists by 2020, equating to revenues of US$10 billion.