As Sri Lanka anticipates a surge in hiking and trekking tourism in 2024, preparations are underway to unveil the long-awaited marine tourism master plan in the upcoming week, reports The Daily Morning Business. Priyantha Fernando, Chairman of the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA), revealed that extensive collaboration with international and national stakeholders has shaped this comprehensive plan, developed in partnership with the Asian Development Bank (ADB). Despite delays caused by consultant availability, Fernando assured that the finalized plan would soon be shared with stakeholders and the public.
Notably, the plan encompasses stringent safety measures aimed at preserving marine ecosystems while fostering sustainable industry growth. Additionally, Sri Lanka eyes foreign direct investment to bolster its marine tourism sector, leveraging its vast territorial waters spanning 21,500 square kilometers and exclusive economic zone covering 517,000 square kilometers.
Fernando emphasized the nation’s abundant potential in marine tourism, emphasizing the importance of promoting water sports and investments in infrastructure like jet skis and artificial reefs. Furthermore, he highlighted the adoption of innovative concepts like water villas to attract high-end international tourists. Sri Lanka’s coastal and marine environments, rich in natural resources and ecosystems, present lucrative opportunities for economic growth as outlined in the Blue Economy Development Framework (Ocean 2030) published in 2016.