Sri Lanka unveils new plans to make Galle Port into a fully-fledged tourist port and leisure hub
The Sri Lankan government has reportedly announced that it is looking at US$ 175-200 million investment to develop and promote the Galle Port in the country’s southern coast into a fully-fledged tourist port and leisure hub of South Asia.
The four-year project headed by the Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) will be developed as a Public Private Partnership (PPP).
The project includes two offshore breakwaters to maintain the sufficient calmness in the Galle bay and harbour and in order to facilitate large cruise ships, it has been proposed to construct a state-of-the-art cruise terminal as well, according to local media reports.
“The aim is to convert Galle into a regional commercial port with additional emphasis on tourism. With new private sector investments, leisure-based commercial activities will also be developed,” Sri Lanka’s Ports and Shipping Minister Rohitha Abeygunawardena has reportedly stated at the ‘Galle Port Development Symposium’.
The Minister has highlighted the importance of the wider economy and observed that the venture would generate thousands of direct and indirect employment opportunities for local communities.
He has further noted that the port will be developed preserving the significant heritage, natural beauty and indigenous identity of the city.
“The project would make Galle like Colombo, from a standpoint of economic significance,” Abeygunawardena has said.
According to reports, the SLPA will act as a facilitator for the project, allowing individual investors to circumvent bureaucratic red tape and the opportunity to discuss tax concessions. Shareholder equity for foreign investors can also be discussed with the SLPA.
The Minister has further assured that local and foreign investors will be facilitated expeditiously.
In addition, the proposed plans include a host of new tourist features that will change the Galle port landscape.
Reports have further stated that the proposed development project looks to attract a wide range of hotels and other leisure based activities within the city, using the picturesque and historically significant Galle port alongside a wide range of water based activities like scuba diving, reef exploration, sea-water sports among many others.
Sri Lanka’s tourism industry is on the path to returning to normalcy after facing the pandemic challenges and is looking at aggressive transformations in line with the exposure received by the country as a tourism destination. While many global travel publications have cited Sri Lanka as a must visit destination, it has also been slotted among the Top 10 island destinations. Simultaneously, Sri Lanka’s tourism authorities are also engaged in promoting the country’s tourism industry in key foreign source markets. The strady growth in tourist arrivals to the country is indicative of the success of the campaigns and the growing interest in the island as a travel destination. The government of Sri Lanka is also keen on further uplifting and developing the industry by including it in the country’s overall development programme. This has opened up many business/investment opportunities in Sri Lanka’s tourism industry. Given the growing business potential in Sri Lanka’s tourism industry, foreign businesses/investors could confidently explore the growing opportunities in the industry.
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