Living Heritage of Sri Lanka

Tourism should be developed through zonal system PM

The Daily News (Colombo), Monday, March 31, 2003
by M. Nelson Piyaratne, Kataragama group correspondent

Tourism should be developed through the zonal tourism system whereby a tourist coming to Kataragama can visit Tissamaharama, Yala, Kirinda, Bundala, Maligawila, Uda Walawe and Hambantota. So he or she can spend more days in this type of zonal tourism system and this will help the country earn more foreign exchange, said Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe when he had discussions with the incumbent of Kirivehera Raja Maha Vihara and Chief Sanganayake of Ruhunu Magam Pattuwa, Ven. Dr. Aluthwewa Soratha on Friday while on a pilgrimage to Kataragama. Prime Minister Wickremesinghe attended religious observances at the Kirivehera, Ashtapala Bodhi and Kataragama Maha Devalaya.

The Premier said this kind of tourism system could be extended to other parts of the country where foreign tourists are attracted with one town keeping as a centre.

Replying to a question raised by Ven. Dr. Soratha, the Prime Minister said although there are problems regarding the Gal Amuna Project, the Government will not stop building the Gal Amuna Dam across the Menik Ganga. The problems faced by the pilgrims at Kataragama will be looked into.

He said about 15 circuit bungalows in Kataragama should be given to the private sector to improve tourism in this area.

If we develop the Kataragama and Munneswaram temples even pilgrims from India will be attracted to Sri Lanka. When Ven. Dr. Aluthwewa Soratha told the Prime Minister that Kataragama has not been made a tourist zone, he asked the prelate to make a request to the government and that problem can be solved.

Ven. Denagama Pagngnaloka, Ven. Maliththe Gunananda, Ven. Metthasiri and Basnayake Nilame of Kataragama Maha Devale Pradeep Nilanga Dela Bandara also participated.