Published on: April 29, 2024

Plans Underway to Gazette 49 More Destinations as Tourism Zones – Tourism State Minister Diana Gamage

State Minister of Tourism Diana Gamage revealed plans to designate 49 additional tourist destinations as official tourist zones. These locations will be published in a gazette within a month as part of the on-going efforts to boost tourism.

During a press conference held today (29) at the Presidential Media Centre (PMC) under the theme “Collective Path to a Stable Country”, State Minister for Tourism Diana Gamage, announced plans to establish a dedicated committee tasked with preventing and monitoring fraud and corruption within the tourism sector.

The State Minister further elaborated,

“We have received numerous complaints regarding tourist harassment in our country. I’ve spoken out about this issue before. Complaints range from overcharging for food to inflated prices for train tickets to tourist spots, and even instances of sexual harassment against a tourist promoting Sri Lanka. We are implementing measures to combat these activities. We cannot afford to let the reputation of our country suffer due to the actions of a few individuals who make mistakes.

It is worth noting that the higher prices of railway tickets are often facilitated by corrupt officials. To address this, we are streamlining the process of purchasing tickets online and taking further steps to enhance this system. Such measures can help in controlling corruption and fraud.

Similarly, due to the illegal sale of alcohol, our country is losing huge revenue of tax. As a Buddhist country, it is essential to close liquor shops on Poya Days as a mark of respect for Buddhism. However, even on such sacred days, alcohol continues to be sold illegally within our borders. Some officials tasked with preventing such activities have succumbed to bribery. These corrupt actions by a minority hinder the enforcement of law and order in our nation. That is why I have proposed the establishment of a dedicated committee to combat and monitor such fraudulent and corrupt practices.

Furthermore, we have identified 49 additional tourist destinations for the advancement of our tourism industry. These sites will be designated as tourism zones and will be officially published in the gazette within a month. Through this initiative, we aim to bolster tourist arrival into our country and promote its diverse attractions.

In the past, there have been numerous criticisms regarding the operation of SPAs in our country. While these establishments function as wellness centres in other countries, ensuring the health and safety of our citizens is paramount. Currently, we are engaging in discussions with the Ministry of Health to streamline SPA operations and establish robust monitoring mechanisms.”

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