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Published on : Tuesday, July 19, 2016
While expressing his views after the concluding of the UNWTO conference on “Tourism: a Catalyst for Development, Peace and Reconciliation” in Passikudah he said that Paris will obviously feel a setback as far as tourism is concerned. He said, “But this would be for a short term and the country’s tourism will once again rise. As terrorism attacks are now considered a global happening people are getting used to it.”
He also added, “However travellers must ensure that the victim (France) should not suffer and people must go there in larger numbers. Tourism is one of the fastest growing industries as well as one of the most resilient industries in the world. This was the first time an international conference was held in the Eastern Province after the war.”
Passikudah can be cited as the best example to prove that tourism can be the agent in solving the issues created by frightful happenings. He said, “We are in the right place at the right time.”
He also cited the examples of Croatia and Cambodia and requested the Government to incorporate tourism is bringing about peace, development and co-operation.
Dana Firas, Petra National Foundation Chair Princess said that a lot more can be initiated to promote the rice culture and bio diversity of Sri Lanka. Various topics were discussed in the two-day conference including the role of tourism in bringing about peace and reconciliation, community involvement, promotion of places affected by conflicts etc.
John Amaratunga, Tourism Development Minister said that measures would be taken by the Government to make sure that the peace profits are first enjoyed by the people affected by war. He added, “In other words we want the local community to be the biggest beneficiary of the peace dividend.”
P.M. Withana, Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau and Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority Chairman said that being the host of an international conference has given them the confidence to make the tourism industry grown even more so that that there can be peace and co-operation among the various communities.