- Plans to position Kalpitiya as a top-ranking destination island resort
- Kuchchaweli to focus on sustainable, community based tourism activities
By Nishel Fernando
The Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) is to develop master plans for sustainable tourism development activities in Kuchchaweli Beach Tourism Zone and Kalpitiya Tourism Zone within six months, in order to lease out land plots for investors.
SLTDA will call for Request for Proposal (RFP) from consultancy firms to develop master plans for two tourism zones from next week onwards.
The selected bidders are expected to conduct preliminary studies, develop designs for the zones, prepare guidelines for each land plot for development, and prepare guidelines for transport and infrastructure facilities.
In addition, they are also expected to develop a marketing strategy and an investment plan for the Kalpitiya Tourism Zone to brand Kalpitiya as a unique destination with innovative products and retain its positioning as a top-ranking island resort destination.
Speaking to Mirror Business, an SLTDA official said they plan to attract investments for sustainable community-based tourism activities for the 510-acre Kuchchaweli Tourism Zone. According to him, Kuchchaweli is expected to be developed as a signature tourism resort in order to develop the Eastern Province by attracting investments to create employment opportunities and create demand for link industries such as fishing, agriculture in the area.
SLTDA plans to utilise 123 acres of land for public purposes such as beach parks, cycling tracks/walking tracks, comfort centres, vehicle parks and the remaining 386 acres are to be developed as a tourism resort, harmonizing the natural beauty and oceanic view.
SLTDA has already leased out fifty acres to four investors based on a master plan developed by the Urban Development Authority (UDA) several years ago.
“Investors have started construction except in one land block and one investment project has already started commercial operations,” the SLTDA official stressed.
Speaking of the Kalpitiya Tourism Zone, the official said that SLTDA plans to draw investments for island resorts, water bungalows and water-based activities such kite surfing, while the government is expected to carry out the common infrastructure development.
SLTDA plans to enhance the marine-transport network, storage facilities, and distribution logistics for the tourism industry and develop harbour facilities for bunkering of safari vessels.
The Kalpitiya project is considered to be the largest tourism development zone in Sri Lanka in line with the national economic development objectives.
The island trail of Kalpitiya Zone consists of 14 islands and the government has already leased out two islands to Indian and Maldivian investors based on a master plan developed during the 2006-2007 period.
The SLTDA official noted that the Cabinet has given the green light to develop the master plans for these tourism zones and to carry out infrastructure developments in order to lease the land plots to investors.
SLTDA expects to complete the master plan for Kuchchaweli Beach Tourism Zone in four months while the master plan for Kalpitiya Zone will be completed within 6-7 months.
One policy framework for all tourism zones
The Tourism Development Wildlife and Christian Religious Affairs Ministry plans to enforce a one policy framework for all gazetted tourism zones in the country to facilitate investors efficiently.
SLTDA Director General Upali Ratnayake told Mirror Business recently that a memorandum in this regard will be presented to the Cabinet shortly.
SLTDA proposes to standardize the lease periods of the land given to investors.
At present, there are different policy frameworks for each tourism zone, which could be complicated for investors.