Development of Arugam Bay as a best tourist destination

Development of Arugam Bay as a best tourist destination


The tourism industry in Sri Lanka has shown steady growth achieving 1.5 million tourist arrivals for 2014 and expecting 2.5million tourists by the end of 2016.

With these growth projections in tourist arrivals, this article would look at ways to develop tourism in Arugam Bay as a preferred tourist destination in Sri Lanka.

Arugam Bay is among the best 10 surfing spots in the world with beautiful beaches. This is one of the key attractions in the Eastern Province located 350 km east of Colombo, and 80 km South East of Ampara, near Pottuvil.

Lagoon tours, bird watching, elephant watching, Kumana National Park, many ancient ruins, important archaeological sites, farming, rich biodiversity and ecosystems are also enjoyable here.

With the prevailing peaceful situation in the country, there are lot of tourists visiting Arugam Bay and it is increasingly becoming popular among both local and foreign tourists.

Eco-tourism could be expanded to make use of the natural topography and ecological values. Arugam Bay is blessed with an abundance of flora and fauna and has lot to offer such as bird watching, a Nature Park, wildlife resort, agro-tourism, establishing camping and other facilities would certainly make wonderful life time experiences to visitors.

Sports Tourism is gaining popularity. International Surfing Championship Competition hosted in Arugam Bay has to be promoted heavily to attract tourists who are keen on sports and particularly surfing.

Traditional medicine such as Ayurveda is becoming increasingly popular among the international community. Expanding Ayurveda healthcare centers would lead to an increase of tourists. Agro farms also could be developed as tourist attractions.

Capacity and manpower development, infrastructure development, improving service standards, marketing and promotions and tourist safety are some of the critical areas that have to be considered.

Accommodation should receive foremost attention towards the expansion of new hotels and refurbishment of hotels.It’s also important that more attention be given to small hotels to improve the quality of Accommodation. Simultaneously, financial assistance should be provided to land owners to develop hotels and allied facilities.

Domestic tourism will be facilitated by providing adequate accommodation facilities at affordable rates.

Suitable transport systems should be strengthened. Number of luxury buses could be increased to provide transport to and from other tourist destinations such as Batticaloa, Nuwara Eliya, Colombo, etc for the convenience and easy travelling of tourists.

Increased use of sea planes and light aircraft would reduce the time required by tourists travelling to Arugam Bay.Airport taxi services should be improved to facilitate transport to Arugam Bay.Local taxies have to be systematically organized to safeguard both tourists and taxi owners.

Improvement of Pottuvil Base Hospital with adequate doctors, consultants and other facilities to offer improved quality health care service would help the tourists.

New infrastructure projects and buildings need to be planned and developed to create a favorable environment for tourism.Public utilities such as public toilets and pipe-borne water supply have to be enhanced for beach users.

Basic training in tourism and foreign languages should be provided to local hoteliers, tour guides, taxi drivers and other sector services providers.

Adoption of good environmental management practices is vital. Local authorities and hotels have to implement certain measures to ensure environmentis clean and healthy.

It’s unique value as the best surfing area with full of ecological landscape has to branded and marketed to both local and foreign tourists. Special promotion campaigns have to be conducted heavily to popularize through electronic media and printed materials.

Aspirations of the local community must be considered and fulfilled.It must be ensured that the maximum benefit of tourism is passed on to the community.

Overall, Arugam Bay area needs sustainable development approaches as the area has tremendous potential to develop tourism. Aspirations of the wider stakeholders should be considered.Safety standards and security aspects of tourism will be given high priority.It is important to ensure that the tourists who arrive here enjoy the visit with thrilling experience and take back home fond memories.

The writer is a graduate of the Chartered Institute of Marketing and Wayamba University of Sri Lanka. He is currently an Assistant General Manager of a leading organization.



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