Programme ordered to use Kalpitiya Islands for tourism

Dilini Madushanki | Published: 11:40 AM Dec 1 2021
Local Programme ordered to use Kalpitiya Islands for tourism

The Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE) has directed the Tourism Development Authority to expediently prepare a programme to use the Kalpitiya Islands for tourism which has been delayed for 10 years.

It was revealed that although an investor had applied  in 2011 for five of the 12 islands which are of 2,055 acres, it had been delayed due to the inability to identify a proper institution to obtain approval for a water bungalows project.

The COPE Chairman said that such a delay is an obstacle to the development of the tourism industry as well as the development of the country.

The investor already owns hotels of similar nature in the Maldives, he pointed out.

The Chairman directed Chairman of the Tourism Development Authority Kimarli Fernando to implement a special project within a strong legal framework since Cabinet approval has been granted. 

He also directed to put forth a steering committee with all relevant parties such as the Marine Environment Protection Authority, Central Environmental Authority, North Western Provincial Council, Coast Conservation and Coastal Resource Management Department.

The Committee also paid attention to the audit observation stating that there was payment of Rs. 11 million out of 29 million for the renovation of the Kataragama Resort a few years ago for incomplete work.

It was also disclosed that the value has been estimated at Rs. 4.8 million by a re-appointed expert committee. 

Despite spending Rs. 1.2 billion on tourism development in 2018-2019, 1.9 million tourists have visited the country. 

Therefore, the existing institutions should be set up for the tourism industry under a more efficient mechanism, said the Chairperson of the Tourism Development Authority, Kimarli Fernando. 

Accordingly, the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority, the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau and the Sri Lanka Convention Bureau will form a single entity whilst the Sri Lanka Institute of Tourism and Hotel Management is intended to operate separately, the chairperson further said.

The Secretary to the Ministry said that the Bill in this regard will be presented to Parliament by March- April 2022 as it has been approved by the Cabinet. 

The COPE Committee also stressed the need to make more effective use of the properties owned by the Tourism Development Authority, including lands in many areas, for the betterment of the tourism industry.

Dilini Madushanki | Published: 11:40 AM Dec 1 2021

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