Tourism Minister Prasanna Ranatunga last week said that a special program has been launched to popularise over 6,000 new eco-friendly tourist attraction sites islandwide with the objective of retaining more tourists in the country.
The project expects to develop these 6059 new tourist attraction sites in collaboration with institutions such as wildlife, forest conservation and archaeology, Ranatunga said speaking at a Livelihood Development Committee discussion in the Nuwara Eliya District yesterday.
Noting that 18 new sites have been identified in the Nuwara Eliya District, Ranatunga said a tourist zone centred on Nuwara Eliya will be declared in the future, whilst expecting to establish three Community Tourist Villages in the vicinity of Nuwara Eliya, Liyanwela and Laxapana.
He said attention is also being paid to declare an eco-friendly tourism zone in the vicinity of the Haggala Botanic Gardens.
In addition to the tourism industry, MP C.B. Rathnayake said steps will be taken to resolve land issues in the district expeditiously. It was revealed that about 1,000 acres of land belonging to the Land Reforms Commission are being misused by plantation companies. The committee has decided to implement a joint program of the Ministries of Plantation, Lands and Agriculture for this purpose.
Steps have also been taken to allocate Rs. 10 million for soil conservation activities in the Nuwara Eliya District.
A special project to uplift families in 200 Grama Niladhari Divisions in the Nuwara Eliya District was also agreed to be implemented under the Samurdhi program.
Vehicle Regulation, Bus Transport Services and Train Compartments and Motor Car Industry State Minister Dilum Amunugama said that it has been decided to import 100 small and medium buses, where majority of them will be provided for transport in the Nuwara Eliya District.
During the meeting, the committee said steps will also be taken for the development of agriculture in the district particularly by focusing on regularisation of fertiliser use, promotion of preservation technology and reduction of post-harvest damage.
Agriculture Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage said Government is all set to start transporting vegetables by train from next month, from Nuwara Eliya to Colombo.
State Ministers S. Viyalendran and all District Secretaries were also present at the meeting.