World Bank aid to spur Tourism related development

By Priyath Wijewardena

A model fishing village for tourists to gain firsthand experience of the industry, and a sea aerodrome is to be developed in the Eastern Province, a senior official of the Tourism Board said.

These developments are financed under a US$ 18 million (Rs 2 billion) loan provided by the World Bank (WB), said General Manager- Convention Bureau, Sri Lanka Tourism Board, Vipula Wanigasekera
Mr. Wanigasekera said that, as part of the WB loan, the Tourism Board would develop tourism related infrastructure.

He said that, out of these programmes, one project would be to upgrade civil aviation within the country; a prime example would be the water aerodrome at Arugam Bay, which would allow seaplanes to land there.

Development of a model fishing village in Pasikuda where tourists can visit the village and observe fishing operations, is another example he gave of tourism related infrastructure development. The land earmarked for the fishing village being a part of the Fisheries Ministry, makes it a joint collaboration between the Tourism Board and Fisheries Ministry, he said

Mr. Wanigasekera explained that, though many tourism related activities have been selected in this regard, the Tourism Board, for the present, will upgrade only certain facilities as a priority. He said that the Tourism Board would also utilise the WB loan to give technical assistance to Small & Medium Enterprises (SME) that come up with innovative products.

“It has been agreed that the Tourism Board will cover 50% of the general expenditure in setting up the product through the WB loan,” he said. A further category in providing the loan is if the SMEs find ways of reducing carbon emission.

He further added that part of the effort would involve the expansion of the Hotel School tenfold and in the process balance the gender requirement by employing more females. Part of this effort he elaborated would involve the establishment of localised area schemes which would identify and plan on how to develop certain selected sites in various areas

He said that the loan will also be used to enhance regulation and licensing, which would allow businesses to be licensed according to international standards.

This part of the loan he stated would also involve setting up internationally recognised signboards at the site of national landmarks.

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