Colombo, Feb 21 (newsin.asia) – The Sri Lankan government will identify tourism development zones throughout the island which will concentrate on tourism related activities, a statement from the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) said here Thursday.
The SLTDA embarked on a mutual partnership with the the Urban Development Authority (UDA) to identify the zones which will be set up to avoid ad-hoc tourism development and to avoid undesirable activities.
The zones are likely to be set up in places such as the central highlands of Ella and Nuwara Eliya and Arugam Bay, Kalpitiya, Beruwala, Hikkaduwa and Pinnawala. These areas are popular tourist areas.
“Sri Lanka has been identified as one of the fast-emerging tourist destinations in the South Asian Region. The island’s biodiversity, long lasted culture, historic monuments, exotic beaches, and evergreen environment can be identified as the key attractions for international tourists,” the SLTDA said in the statement.
“However, with the increased tourist arrivals various tourism related or associated activities are mushrooming in around popular tourist destinations. Most of these activities are developed in an irresponsible manner in the absence of proper development guidelines in existing and emerging tourism hubs,” the SLTDA added.
Such developments put invaluable cultural and natural assets at severe risk of degradation. At the same time, there are other locations, of which the potentials have yet to be properly explored for the development of tourism-related activities, the SLTDA further said.
Since the end of the island’s 30 year civil conflict between government troops and Tamil Tiger rebels, which ended in May 2009, Sri Lanka has emerged as one of the leading travel destinations in the world.
Last year, Sri Lanka received 2.3 million tourists while this year it is aiming to welcome 3 million tourists.