The government will allocate Rs.167.64 million over the next four months to boost the country’s tourism industry which has seen a sharp decline in recent times due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Tourism Minister Prasanna Ranatunga said a short term action plan has already been prepared to revive tourism.
Under the programme, Rs.18.96 million has been allocated for the development of 12 new tourist attraction sites in Kurunegala, Matale, Mannar, Kandy, Ampara, Badulla and Kegalle districts.
In addition, the government has paid special attention to the development of community tourist villages. The government has allocated Rs.2.88 million for this purpose during the next four months. The monies will be utilized to accelerate projects already underway in Mederipitiya, Heel-Oya, Etanwala, Bomburu Ella and Heelogama villages and steps have been taken to create separate websites for these villages to popularise these villages among foreign tourists.
Action will also be taken to modernise the Negombo, Kandy and Kalutara railway stations within the next four months under a project to upgrade the railway stations to attract tourists.
The amount allocated for this is Rs. 14.50 million.The Tourism Ministry has already modernised the Ella, Hatton, Galle, Bentota and Unawatuna stations under this project.
Rs.29.40 million has been allocated for the development of the three old forts in Mannar, Kalpitiya and Batticaloa which are under the supervision of the Archeology Department.
In addition, Rs.29 million has been allocated to train young people interested in tourism in the coming months.
Minister Prasanna Ranatunga said the Tourism Ministry has trained 1050 trainees this year despite the Coronavirus epidemic. Another 1220 will be trained and these programmes will be implemented in 14 districts, he said speaking to the ‘Daily News’ in Mattala yesterday.