Sri Lanka's army commander and accused war criminal, Shavendra Silva, attended the Sri Lanka’s Tourism Leaders’ Summit and Tourism Research Conference held on the 27th of September in Kandy City.
The summit was organised by the students of Tourism study programme of the Department of Economics at the University of Colombo. Discussions and speeches centred around the theme of the conference “Together, Towards Resilience, Responsible and Sustainable Sri Lanka Tourism”.
The tourism industry contributes around 11% of the national gross domestic product over the last five years but in recent months has seen a sharp decline due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the Easter Sunday attack.
Shavendra Silva, who is currently barred from the US, delivered a speech after being met by a procession of Kandyan drummers.
Militarising Sri Lanka's Tourism
Over a decade has passed since the end of the armed conflict and yet the Sri Lankan military continues to occupy vast swathes of land in the Tamil North-East, where intense militarisation continues to be a pressing issue for locals. In particular, the armed forces have set up and continue to run several civilian businesses in the region, including holiday resorts for tourists.
The continued use of these military-run facilities by tourists benefits human rights abusers and reinforces the continued militarisation and Sinhalisation of the Tamil North-East.
Read more from the Sri Lankan Army's website.