President Ranil Wickremesinghe has instructed officials to take immediate steps to develop the Ella tourist area under a grand comprehensive plan.
The President also informed officials to prepare and submit a development plan within four months together with the Ministries of Tourism, Urban Development and Environment.
The President issued the directives during a discussion held with the Ella Businessmen’s Association today (16).
The President pointed out the need to formally plan the Ella tourism zone and highlighted the importance of carrying out construction activities in an environmentally friendly manner to avoid disturbing tourist attractions.
The President said under the first phase, the Ella tourism zone will be developed through a formal plan, and steps will be taken to make the Uva Province a preferred destination for tourists.
President Ranil Wickremesinghe further said;
Ella is a tourist area created by the people of this area. It now contributes widely to Sri Lanka’s economy. We hope to develop this tourist zone according to a new comprehensive development plan. I have instructed the officials to take steps to provide short-term solutions to the problems that have arisen in this area.
Today, tourists visiting the Maldives spend about $500 a day. However, tourists who come to the Ella area spend twenty dollars a day. We must change this situation.
Trained workers are needed for the promotion of the tourism industry. Experienced tourism workers left the country during the last Covid epidemic. They were very experienced workers.
Tourists, who spend $500, come expecting good service. We need trained employees to provide such a service.
Steps should be taken to create a good tourism service under this massive development program. Those tourists who arrive in the Uva Province should spend at least 07 days there. We need to make new plans with that objective in mind.
We have to arrange to attract the tourists visiting the Eastern Province to Ella thereafter. This new development plan should include a program to develop the Mattala Airport and bring tourists directly from Mattala to Ella. These plans would be effective for the country’s development both in the short term and in the long term.
We must work to maintain the banking sector in the country without letting it collapse while developing the tourism sector. If the banking system collapses, tourists will not come to our country. Therefore, the government has a program to protect both the tourism and banking sectors. As we would implement it, I request you all support it.
President Ranil Wickremesinghe solved many of the issues raised by the Ella Businessmen during the meeting with them and the prompt action taken by the President to address their issues was highly appreciated by the Ella business community.
Ministers Nimal Siripala de Silva, Harin Fernando, State Ministers Chamara Sampath Dasanayake, Governor of the Uva Province A.J.M. Musammil, Chief of Presidential Staff and President’s Senior Adviser on National Security Sagala Ratnayake, Badulla District Secretary Damayanthi Paranagama and several others were present at the event.