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Eastern Province to set up own tourism development authority

22 December 2015 02:34 am - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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As Eastern Province has failed to receive due recognition and focus as a tourism hotspot, the Eastern Provincial Council Chief Ministry announced it was gearing up to establish its very own tourism development authority.
Taking matters to their own hands, senior officials of the Chief Ministry said they have been working on the initiative since the beginning of this year, and has gained necessary approvals to kick off the same.
The authority which will come under the preview of the Chief Minister’s office itself will set up internationally recognized training centres that will not only attract students from all provinces in Sri Lanka, but also from neighbouring countries such as India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh.
Approximately 50 acres of land have been allocated for the initiative.
The training centres will be set up in Trincomalee and Batticaloa to ensure the right mix of talents are available to service the region’s hospitality sector.
Pointing out that the East has been neglected compared to the other provinces, tourism industry veteran and tourism advisor to the Eastern Provincial Council Chief Ministry Chandra Mohotti expressed confidence in the establishment of an authority, which will allow the region to compete with Maldives in the 
near future.   
“The East is blessed with small islands that can be uplifted. The need of the hour is to explore and exploit the untapped resources. Not only does the region have sandy beaches, it is also bordering the hill country which if utilized proper can offer a host of experience. It is a mini Sri Lanka,” said Chandra Mohotti at an event held recently to announce the second edition of the Invest in East Forum. It was pointed out that with the euphoria since the end of the war, a number of individuals across the province have set up small hotels, but are struggling to fill their rooms.   
“They have opened their hotels but they don’t have a proper direction as to how they are going to make it a success. The tourism authority that will be set up will help connect them to other travel companies and service providers,” he said.
While majority of hotels are set up by small and medium local investors, Mohotti stressed it is time to invite international operators as such a move will only showcase the East as an attractive tourism destination. (SAA)


Mulls international airport
In an effort to improve access to the Eastern Province, Eastern Provincial Council Chief Minister said he was exploring the opportunity of building an international airport in Trincomalee.
“Our plan is not to have a huge building, but have a long stretch of runway. The purpose is to allow tourists, investors, and businessmen to reach the East directly without having to travel from Colombo which is an eight to ten hour journey,” said Eastern Provincial Council Chief Minister Naseer Ahamed.
He expressed confidence in the Hindu Temple Koneswaram itself attracting millions of tourists from India, which will ensure that that airport will remain active.The Eastern province currently has three domestic airports in Ampara, Batticaloa, and Trincomalee.

 
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