UN World Tourism Organisation conference to kick-off in Passikudah

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Embarking on a new chapter in the revival of the tourism industry in the east coast of the country, Sri Lanka Tourism and the Ministry of Tourism Development and Christian Religious Affairs in association with the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) will hold a conference titled ‘Tourism: A Catalyst for Development, Peace and Reconciliation’ between 11 to 14 July at Amaya Beach Resort, Passikudah.

The conference is a great opportunity for Sri Lanka to showcase north and east to this highly-influential group of stakeholders from around the world to deliver a positive message about the country.

Outlining the key objective of the conference Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) Director General Malraj Kiriella said it is to identify and discuss the close links between tourism, peace and reconciliation as inter-dependent components in their overall, political, economic and social cultural dimensions.

He said the conference will also discuss local community involvement and peace sensitive tourism, public private partnerships and peace tourism, marketing and rebranding of post-conflict destinations.

In addition Kiriella said the ceremonial presentation of the UNWTO open letter will be presented to President Maithripala Sirisena at this conference.

Tourism Development, Lands and Christian Religious Affairs Minister John Amaratunga said it is the first time that an event of this magnitude is being held in the Eastern Province after end of the war, which augurs well for the revival of the tourism industry in North and East.

He said it was timely to capitalise on the opportunities available in the north and the east to the world.

According to the Minister, the conference objectives are threefold, which includes peace and reconciliation, benefit from tourism being shared among people in the two provinces as well as to showcase the best hotels in north and east of Sri Lanka.

Noting that the north and east were cut off from tourism due to the conflict situation, he added that with the dawn of peace much development had taken place in those areas, where the number of tourist hotels in both provinces have increased tremendously.

“Now tourism is spreading to the north and east. We are providing a golden opportunity to the young girls and boys of the two provinces to join these hotels and enter the tourism industry.

The Minister commended the hoteliers in both Northern and Eastern Provinces for maintaining cleanliness in the beaches for sustainable development in the industry.

“Authorities are very careful in approving hotels in the north and east — not polluted at all. All agencies are very keen on these aspects of the question of pollution would not take place,” he said.

Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau and Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority Chairman Paddy Withana said having an event of this nature will greatly support to boost the image of destination Passikudah.

“Benefit of tourism industry should be shared among every citizen of the country and it is crucial to encourage people of North and East to enjoy the economic benefits. I hope arranging UNWTO conference in Passikudah will have a positive impact for all including the people in North, East as well as the overall look on Sri Lanka,” he added.

Noting that there are around 450 rooms at present he said that it should increase up to 700 in Passikudah itself. So we need to bring more little focus on that area.

He also commended the support given by the hoteliers to host this event in Passikudah.

Pic by Lasantha Kumara

Source : http://www.ft.lk/article/553404/UN-World-Tourism-Organisation-conference-to-kick-off-in-Passikudah-next-week#sthash.KDitg5NM.dpuf

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