Sri Lanka Aims to Build Travel Hub in South Asia

Sri Lanka Aims to Build   Travel Hub in South Asia
Sri Lanka Aims to Build   Travel Hub in South Asia

Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said the government aims to transform the southern city of Galle into a leading tourism hub in South Asia due to its historic value and the World Heritage Galle Fort, local media reported Tuesday.

Wickremesinghe, addressing a forum on the Development Plan for Galle and its suburbs, said all illegal constructions within the Galle Fort would be removed and state organizations located in the Galle Fort area would be shifted without delay, Xinhua reported.

He said Galle's new development plan with the aim of promoting tourism will be implemented while preserving and protecting the precious World Heritage Site of the historic Galle Fort and no fortifications will be permitted according to the requests of individuals or organizations.

Wickremesinghe further said all illegal constructions at the Galle International Cricket Stadium will be also removed accordingly.

  Conservation Concerns  

The prime minister had recently said Galle's tourism plans will also focus heavily on conservation of the natural ecosystem and new laws will be formulated to protect the environment in the area during construction.

The Galle district, the prime minister said, is located between two international airports Katunayake and Mattala and although many concentrate on the coastal area of Galle in terms of tourism, its interior areas were blessed with natural beauty and have immense potential.

"That is why we have already made plans to start tourism projects in Akurala and Koggala. With all these projects, Galle, I am certain, will become a major tourism hub in the region," the premier said.

Sri Lanka's tourism sector has continued to grow since a three-decade civil conflict ended in May 2009 between government troops and Tamil Tiger rebels.

India, followed by China and the UK are Sri Lanka's largest source markets. 

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