(By Quintus Perera in Jaffna) The leisure trade in the northern capital of Jaffna is still at an infant stage but poised to reach greater heights. The Business Times (BT) joined the members of the Sri Lanka Association of Inbound Tour Operators (SLAITO) in their fact finding mission to Jaffna recently, to promote Jaffna as [...]

The Sundaytimes Sri Lanka

Leisure sector growing in Jaffna

View(s):

(By Quintus Perera in Jaffna)

The leisure trade in the northern capital of Jaffna is still at an infant stage but poised to reach greater heights.

The Business Times (BT) joined the members of the Sri Lanka Association of Inbound Tour Operators (SLAITO) in their fact finding mission to Jaffna recently, to promote Jaffna as another travel destination in Sri Lanka.

The BT had the occasion to speak to hoteliers and some inhabitants of the area. The hoteliers indicated that the infrastructure facilities are good, except the menace of constant power failures.

Vast water mass on either side of approach roads to islands in Jaffna

Some hoteliers stressed the need to exploit the vast water surrounding Jaffna (sea, the lagoons and the islands). Balasubramaniam Kandeebaraj, Front Office Manager, Gnanam Hotel, Jaffna told the BT that there are several islands like Iranaitivu, Eluvaitivu, Nainativu (Nagadeepa), Delft, Karativu and Kachchativu and to reach them one has to cross a vast mass of water.
On either side of the approach roads of these islands there is the vast water mass that could be used for various water sports, sun bathing across the vast stretches of beaches once they are properly developed.

Apart from sight-seeing, there are various kinds of water sports, like wind surfing, boat ride excursions to where bird sanctuaries in mangroves as there are dwarf mangrove concentrations in these water paths. Travellers could be treated to angling or rod fishing in deep waters and there even could be honeymooners in luxury yachts, or there could be Italian type gondolas that could accommodate love-makers roaming the globe. A dinner on a boat in the deep seas arranged by the hotels would be new experiences for the curious and enthusiastic traveller, it was revealed.

The vast forest reserves also could be converted into wildlife sanctuaries like Yala which would definitely be a tourist attraction.
Mr Kandeebaraj said that off Point Pedro sea there is the vast Bay-of Bengal sea with the possibility of watching whales and another could be scuba diving.

Another glamorous sea beach sight is the Cashewrina Beach, in Karainagar, where the sand in that beach is cashew colour. BT had the occasion to visit this beach and it could be developed into something like Copacabana or California beaches. In certain parts of this sea people can wade up to 100 metres.

It is the view of some of these hoteliers in Jaffna that since it’s a very long and tiresome journey from Colombo to reach Jaffna, there should be increased air flights to Jaffna, so that travellers could be in Jaffna in minutes. However it was pointed out that the heavy presence of the armed forces in the North and the presence of the Navy in these islands would affect the travel trade to some extent.
The government has requested Sri Lankan expatriates to return and invest here but they are prevented from doing so due to the dual citizenship issue. They would not like to forfeit their luxuries in the countries they live in and to come to a doubtful situation with no safety assurance. If dual citizenship is available they could come here and if the situation is bad they could go back, local industrialists say.

If there is conducive atmosphere for the expatriates to travel, the industry would also benefit as these expatriates would invest in the hotel and tourism trade. A case in point is Tilak T Thilagaraj, Managing Director, Tilko Jaffna City Hotels (Pvt) Ltd
Mr Thilagaraj is the owner of a palatial house on a 2 acre block of land in London and the owner of Tilko Estates – Sales, Lettings, Management and Development in London and maintains two offices in that country. In 2002 when there was partial peace, he sold some of his properties in that country, obtained dual citizenship and came to Sri Lanka where he bought several properties in different parts of the country and commenced building Tilko Jaffna City Hotel. Due to the resumption of the war he returned to London and completed the Jaffna hotel only in 2010.

He told the BT that if he did not get the dual citizenship he would never have sold his properties in London and would never have sighted Sri Lanka in the current travel environment.




Share This Post

DeliciousDiggGoogleStumbleuponRedditTechnoratiYahooBloggerMyspace
comments powered by Disqus

Advertising Rates

Please contact the advertising office on 011 - 2479521 for the advertising rates.