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Sri Lanka plans Tourism Development Zones in controversial Eastern site

Sri Lanka announced plans to launch at least five tourism development zones estimated to extend over more than 1500 acres of state-owned land, including in an area in the Eastern Province which has seen a spread in Buddhist sites. 
 
This public-private initiative includes the Ministry of Lands, the Ministry of Tourism and the Sri Lanka Tourism Club – a group of government recognised industry leaders.
 
Tourism Minister John Amaratunga, said that the first zone is the controversial Lanka Patuna site. With construction already underway, it is estimated to have capacity for 25-30 luxury hotels. 
 
Full details will be shared at the inaugural Asia Hotel and Tourism Investment Conference in Colombo later this month.
 
“We will be working with government ministries to deliver themed international tourism and family entertainment zones, and to open them up for foreign investment. The conference will be an ideal opportunity to explain what we will be doing and to attract international finance,” said Dr Prabath C Ukwatte, the Chairman of the Sri Lanka Tourism Club.
 
Such plans follow ongoing criticism of the tourism industry in Sri Lanka.