Expert Committee to formulate Ecotourism Strategic Plan
By Thameenah Razeek
As Sri Lanka has failed to recognise ecotourism, the Ministries of Environment and Tourism have decided to form a joint expert committee to formulate an ecotourism strategic plan.
The collaborative programme will be established with an ecotourism strategic plan to achieve the goal of attracting tourists to the ecotourism industry in order to promote and expand the country’s tourism sector. Environment Secretary Dr. Anil Jasinghe and Secretary to the Ministry of Tourism S. Hettiarachchi recently convened a special discussion on this matter at the Ministry of Environment.
The identification of ecotourism sites, the execution of the programme as a means of environmental protection, and the growing desire of tourists visiting the country not only for amusement but also for information were all highlighted during the discussion. Dr. Jasinghe stressed that the goal of this initiative is to develop both the tourism business and environmental security, as Sri Lanka has diverse flora and fauna as well as archaeological sites.
“The mangrove system has the potential to draw a large number of tourists. However, biodiversity is gravely threatened as a result of the destruction caused by certain people in our country. Therefore, the Ministries of Environment and Tourism decided to formulate a strategy for the promotion and development of the ecotourism business,” he said. It was also agreed that relevant activities would be carried out by a committee of specialists with extensive understanding of tourism and the environment. The importance of the ecotourism business as a source of income for the country was also underlined.