Sri Lanka’s Premier Marine Destination Master Plan

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“Sri Lanka is poised to embark on a journey to position the island country as a premier destination for marine tourism, with the plan to be implemented before the end of the first quarter”, Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB) Chairman Chalaka Gajabahu said. Assuring proactive measures, Gajabahu revealed that the Ministry has crafted a comprehensive plan for marine tourism in 2024, awaiting completion of regulatory reviews before implementation within the first quarter.

“This strategic blueprint encompasses tourism investments, equipment, transportation and infrastructure development,” he added. He noted that they have partnered with the Sri Lanka Navy to enhance water-related activities and instill confidence in water-based endeavors.

The marine tourism master plan announced by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA), noted they will publicize by the end of March, reports local media March 22nd.

The Chamber of Marine Industries aims to promote boating among Sri Lankans and make the country a boat manufacturing hub, said the chairman of the chamber Indhra Kaushal Rajapaksa, as quoted by the media. He further highlighted the chamber’s plans to develop small boat launch facilities, promote marina development, and host boat exhibitions in the near future.

Port Galle

Mr. Rajapaksa added that Sri Lanka has a good boat manufacturing base and the Chamber hopes to promote boat ownership among the citizens. In conversation with The Daily Morning Business, Rajapaksa highlights that if the Government can loosen the strict laws and allow International yachtsmen to visit the country, maritime tourism will grow. Thus, not only foreign visitors, Sri Lankans do want to sail around the country but the country lacks the facilities, especially with harbours to anchor the boats, breakwater construction, boat security and places for them to facilitate with the shelter, food, water and other necessities. In addition, more and more regulations are stacked to get permission to sail around the country.

Rajapaksa shares his perspective on the chamber’s plans to develop small boat launch facilities, promote marina development, host boat exhibitions, and deal with industry related matters. The chamber is optimistically driven to achieve their goals by positively interacting with the Government. Moreover, the chamber is a member of The International Council of Marine Industry Associations (ICOMIA), providing exposure to many countries. In January of 2024 the Tourism Minister, Harin Fernando, said, “Sri Lanka aims to be a premier marine tourism destination in 2024.”

“Government and the yachting community and industry all agree Sri Lanka has tremendous potential to realize its vision of becoming a Maritime Hub in the region. There is a focus on opening up to cruising tourism. The many regulations concerning tender boat operations and the lack of anchorages suitable for superyachts held back significant superyacht cruising, which now actually adds to its attraction as a stunning adventure cruising destination”, reports Priyantha Perera, heading up Asia Pacific Superyachts Sri Lanka.

“We can advise on moorings and restrictions and as space is limited at Galle, there are important procedures for Captains to be made aware”, adds Pereraa. “The main cruising destinations in Sri Lanka consist of the Northeast coast and the Southern coast, which boasts of some of the most pristine beaches in the world. A unique itinerary for yacht guests can be crafted that includes sampling of the best of traditional Sri Lankan cuisine and one-of-a-kind events such as ‘Stilt Fishing’, an authentic experience not found anywhere else in the world!”