Cable car service for Nuwara Eliya

Among the thousands of Sri Lankans that thronged the cool climes of Nuwara Eliya this April holiday season was Minister of Tourism Development John Amaratunga. The Tourism Minister who visited many sites of tourist interest at the height of the holiday season spoke to local and foreign visitors, travel, tourism and hotel officials and local Government authorities. While looking into many shortcomings in tourist facilities he also finalised plans for a cable car service.

The Minister took the opportunity to pay a surprise visit to the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority owned Holiday Resort in Nuwara Eliya. During his visit the Minister found that the facilities on offer were below par and took immediate measures to inform the relevant officials to take urgent remedial action. Based on the Minister’s instructions, the infrastructure facilities at the resort will be given a facelift with an overall upgrade to the facilities on offer.

“The National Holiday Resort in Nuwara Eliya which comes under the purview of the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority has been lying in a neglected state for a long time. The resort occupies a prime location adjacent to the lake and there will be huge business potential once it is done up. I have instructed the relevant authorities to expedite the refurbishing so that its commercial value could be maximised,” said Amaratunga.

The Minister also visited the recently-refurbished Nuwara Eliya Race Course. While congratulating the newly-formed Royal Turf Club “on the splendid job done with the race course and injecting a new lease of life to the sport,” he said that regular races in Nuwara Eliya filled a void in providing much-needed entertainment to both locals and tourists alike. “Sri Lanka must not only showcase its natural beauty and resources but also offer exciting events of this nature to attract tourists to the country,” said Amaratunga in an official message to mark the inauguration of the Royal Turf Club.

During an inspection of visitor facilities at this much sought after holiday destination it was pointed out that there was a severe shortage of parking space for visitors. In a meeting with local officials it was decided to allocate some unused space in the environs of the race course for visitor parking.

Meanwhile the Minister also inspected the proposed site for a cable car service between Nanu Oya and Nuwara Eliya. The project is expected to get off the ground shortly. The proposed project will add a new dimension to the attractions in Nuwara Eliya while also providing a unique transport solution between the railway terminus in Nanu Oya and Nuwara Eliya town.

During a meeting with local officials the Minister also discussed the feasibility of constructing an airstrip to accommodate small fixed wing aircraft. The tourism and travel trade have been requesting an airstrip for some time to facilitate an air link to Nuwara Eliya thereby cutting down on the long and tiring road journeys.

He also visited the Bandarawela Holiday Resort owned by the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority and looked in to its shortcomings. The Minister informed the relevant officials to rectify the issues as soon as possible and report back to him. “National resources like the Bandarawela Holiday Resort should be made available for the benefit of the people of this country. In doing so we must ensure that they are of an acceptable standard,” pointed out Amaratunga.

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