East ready for tourist influx
The foundation has been laid for tourism development in the East
which is now gearing for the influx of tourists to the region, said
Project Director, North East Coastal Community Development Project (NECCDEP),
S. M. Croos.
He said extensive road development carried out in the East would be
an impetus to the growth of tourism in the East coast which has some of
the most attractive beaches, sand dunes, lagoons and nature reserves in
“While many of the bridges in the East have been reconstructed work
on a few are nearing completion.
The three decade war destroyed many of the bridges and brought road
transportation to a complete halt”, Croos said.
The Strategic Tourism Development Plan for the Eastern province is a
project of the NECCDEP funded by the Asian Development Bank (ADB).
The objective of the plan is to promote responsible tourism while
improving the livelihood and recreational opportunities for the people
in the East.
“Hotels that could accommodate a large number of visitors should to
be built to cater to the influx of tourists to the East.
The guesthouses and ‘home stays’ should be converted in to large
resorts and boutique hotels”, Croos said.
“People in the East are relieved and live a happy life. Lifting of
travel restrictions have made transportation easy and normal activities
to resume”, he said.
Immediate Past President, Tourist Hotels Association of Sri Lanka,
Srilal Miththapala said the East coast has immense potential for tourism
in Sri Lanka but there has to be more hotels and resorts to cater to the
influx of visitors.
The development of the Kanniya hot wells, beautification of
Batticaloa and the Kallady beach, improving beach access roads and
handicraft training for women in Arugambay, a visitor centre in Pottuvil
and hotel staff training are some of the proposals of the NECCDEP
tourism development plan for the East.
The Kallady beach beautification program includes parking space,
development of access roads, a children’s park, cabanas, seating
arrangements and tree planting.
Kanniya Hot Wells
The Batticaloa beautification program includes developing roads,
bridges and protecting nature reserves.
Batticaloa is the second largest city in the Eastern province with a
population of around 90,000 people.
The district is made up of Tamils 91.8 percent, Muslims 5.15 percent,
Burghers 2.8 percent Sinhalese 0.25 percent.The sandy beaches of
Pasikuda and Arugambay popular for wind surfing, whale watching and
scuba diving, the Kumana and Lahugala national parks and the cultural
and religious sites make the East a unique destination for tourists who
love to revel in eco-tourism.
Tourism has been recognised as a major contributor to the economy and
it is expected to be the number one foreign exchange earner to the
Tourist arrivals recorded a 48 percent growth during the first six
months of this year compared to the same period in 2009.
A campaign has been launched to lure visitors from non traditional
Hotels are being refurbished and more rooms are being built to meet
the 2.5 million tourist arrival target by 2016.
Tourist attractions in the East
The Nilaveli beach, the Pigeon Island and Somawathi National Parks,
Hot Wells in Kanniya, Thiriyai Velgam Vihara, Thirukoneswaram, Fort
Fredrick and Ales Gardens
Kallady beach, Pasikuda and Kalkuda, the Batticaloa lagoon, the Dutch
Fort area and Lady Manning Drive
Arugambay beach, the Pottuvil lagoon, Panama dunes, crocodile point,
Sastravela lagoon, the Lahugala and Kumana National parks, Bovattegala
and Kudimbigala and Magulmahavihara.