Sri Lanka strengthening tourism infrastructure to accommodate more foreign tourists by 2016

Published on : Monday, January 20, 2014

‘Aliya’-holiday-resortThe ‘Aliya’ holiday resort, the first hotel in the Cultural Triangle was opened on the 18 January. The hotel was inaugurated by the Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa. The hotel was built under a programme to construct 50,000 new hotel rooms to accommodate foreign tourists to Sri Lanka by 2016.

The Minister felt that tourism is a powerful economic tool that can help eradicate poverty in many developing countries.

‘Aliya’ (named after the king of Sri Lanka’s wild beasts) holiday resort built at a cost of Rs. 1.4 billion comprises 96 rooms and is a fusion of many things old and new. Participants in the opening ceremony included Central Province Chief Minister Sarath Ekanayake, Provincial Minister Pamitha Tennakoon, Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority Chairman Bhashwara Gunaratne and Aliya Hotel Chairman/Managing Director Chandra Wickremasinghe.

Addressing those who attended the event Wickremasinghe attributed the current success of tourism to the initial five-year tourism development plan implemented under Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa’s guidance on the advice of President Mahinda Rajapaksa. The Aliya Holiday Resort has been built on a 20-acre area at a cost of US dollars 7.8 million. It will give jobs to 220 unemployed youth of the area and provide nearly 500 others with indirect employment.

Aliya Resort built in a 20 acre area blends in with the Sigiriya villages and the simple carefree lifestyle of the people who live there. The architecture successfully links the interior to the exterior landscapes; floor to ceiling windows throughout and what seems like miles of airy open areas.

Other facilities of the Resort & Spa also include a state-of-the-art Conference Hall and Meeting Rooms, a well equipped gym, two pools, elephant study centre, a paddy museum, an Ayurveda Spa with in-house doctor for personalized treatments.

Aliya’s lounge and bar ‘Migara’ is spectacular by day or night with a 180 panoramic view. ‘Makara’, brings the orient to life with its tantalizing Chinese cuisine. ‘Nagula’, is a specialty restaurant, which borders the Paddy Museum and has a mouthwatering repertoire of local dishes. The UNESCO world heritage, Sigiriya rock and Pidurangala seven kilometres away can be viewed from the hotel.

By 2016, 2.5 million tourists are expected to visit Sri Lanka. Last year 1,274,593 tourists – the highest number in history – visited the country, bringing in an income of U.S. dollars 1.45 billion. During the period 43 more hotels joined the tourism sphere, providing direct jobs for 112,550 persons while indirectly employing 1,576,000 people.

More jobs will be created with the construction of 50,000 new hotel rooms. Jobs associated with the tourism industry will naturally increase employment up to 500,000. There will be greater earning of foreign exchange with foreign visitation from Sri Lanka by 2016 Sri Lanka is expected to earn nearly three billion US dollars in FE annually.

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