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Sri Lanka aims for tourist attraction with ‘Blue Flag Beach’ certification

Sri Lanka aims for tourist attraction with ‘Blue Flag Beach’ certification

The Morning: On 20 February, chaired by Member of Parliament Ajith Mannapperuma, the Sectoral Oversight Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Sustainable Development convened to deliberate on an initiative poised to transform Sri Lanka’s coastal allure.
The meeting, a confluence of key officials from various sectors, underscored the nation’s ambition to enhance its beaches through the ‘Blue Flag Beach’ certification, a marker of quality and safety for tourists. The presence of Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa amplified the session’s significance, highlighting a unified stride towards sustainable tourism development.
The committee chair accentuated the magnetic appeal of beaches adorned with the ‘Blue Flag Beach’ quality certificate to tourists worldwide. This certification is not merely a badge of honour but a testament to a beach’s safety, environmental management and amenity quality.
The discussion was not without introspection, as the chair candidly addressed the current shortfall in Sri Lanka’s beach development efforts necessary for acquiring this certification. With 12 main beaches identified for the ‘Blue Flag Beach’ concept and steps underway to elevate four to the required standards, the initiative is gaining momentum.
Amid the planning and projections, Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa raised a critical concern regarding the spectre of unauthorised constructions along the picturesque coastlines, a challenge that could mar the pristine nature of the beaches and hinder the certification process. This intervention underscored the need for a holistic approach to coastal management, encompassing not only infrastructural upgrades but also stringent regulatory measures to preserve the natural beauty and integrity of Sri Lanka’s beaches.
The meeting witnessed the convergence of ideas and visions from representatives of the Ministry of Urban Development and Housing, Ministry of Tourism and Lands, Ministry of Provincial Councils and Local Government, Department of Coastal Conservation and Coastal Resource Management, Maritime Environment Protection Authority, and Sri Lanka Ports Authority. This collaborative spirit hints at a robust framework in place for realising the ‘Blue Flag Beach’ ambition. With concerted efforts and strategic interventions, Sri Lanka stands on the cusp of redefining its coastal landscapes, promising a future where its beaches are not just destinations but sanctuaries of environmental excellence and safety.
As Sri Lanka embarks on this ambitious journey towards securing the ‘Blue Flag Beach’ certification for its coastal jewels, the path is fraught with challenges yet ripe with opportunities. This initiative, beyond boosting tourism, is poised to foster a culture of sustainability and environmental stewardship, setting a precedent for coastal management and conservation. The dialogue between government officials and opposition voices reflects a commendable synergy, vital for navigating the complexities of environmental certification and ensuring that Sri Lanka’s beaches become hallmarks of quality and safety on the global stage.

OSL take:
Sri Lanka’s tourism industry is on a steady growth path with increasing numbers of tourist arrivals being recorded every month. The industry has now reached pre-pandemic levels and is continuing to grow. Local tourism authorities are also exploring new tourism concepts as well as tailored packages for tourists visiting the country while also carrying out a series of promotional campaigns in key foreign source markets. It is in such a backdrop that the local authorities are looking at increasing the number of tourist attractions in the country. All these indicate an expansion in business/investment opportunities in the country’s tourism industry. These opportunities range from the development of infrastructure and supplementary infrastructure facilities required by the industry to meet growing demand. The growth and business potential in Sri Lanka’s tourism industry is not lost on international leisure and hospitality brands that have also expressed interest in entering the country’s tourism industry. Given these positive movements in Sri Lanka’s tourism industry, foreign businesses/investors could confidently explore the growing opportunities in the industry.

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Article Code : VBS/AT/20240313/Z_3

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