The Sundaytimes Sri Lanka

World Bank tourism project kick-starts


The government on Monday gave the nod to immediately start the long delayed project on Sustainable Tourism Development backed by a World Bank loan of US$18 million, an official said.Following an emergency meeting convened by Economic Development Ministry Secretary Dr. P.B. Jayasundera on Monday, plans were called for the immediate implementation of the project, a ministry official told the Business Times on Friday.

On Wednesday, the government held a technical discussion in a bid to work out plans for the immediate implementation of the project.
The World Bank project has been delayed for nearly 18 months since it signed the Financing Agreement with the Ministry in 2010.
The project would be implemented through the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) and monitored by the Economic Development Ministry, the official explained.

The project would provide technical assistance to institutions within Sri Lanka Tourism to improve its efficiency; improving tourism related infrastructure in the East; and providing grants for SME firms in tourism or suppliers for tourism firms, the World Bank website stated.

At present, the official observed that they were in the process of issuing the implementation strategy report. The World Bank last week stated they were finalizing the project with Sri Lanka Tourism.Sources told the Business Times that World Bank authorities had been aware through ministry officials that relevant authorities were previously not interested in this project.

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