With the opening of the country to tourists, the Ministry of Tourism, Sports and Health will formulate a joint program to develop the sports-based tourism industry. Accordingly, a high level committee consisting of the Secretaries of the three Ministries has been appointed to implement sports programs based on the development of the tourism industry next year.
This was discussed at length at a special discussion held at the Ministry of Tourism yesterday (14). The discussion was chaired by Tourism Minister Hon. Prasanna Ranatunga, Sports Minister Hon. Namal Rajapaksa and Health Minister Hon. Pavithra Wanniarachchi. Representatives of hotels and service providers' organizations involved in the tourism industry along with top officials of the three relevant Ministries were also present at the occasion.
Accordingly, international level sports competitions will be organized island wide next year to attract tourists as per the health guidelines. Sports Ministry officials said there were plans to hold 420 sports events, including school sports. It was revealed at this meeting that with the control of the Covid situation, 80 major sports competitions are to be held in the world and the focus is on getting the opportunity to hold several such tournaments in Sri Lanka.
Cricket, Football, Rugby, Kabaddi, Beach Volleyball and Netball tournaments are planned to be organized in the country. In addition to the Asia Cup, cricket teams from England, Bangladesh, India and South Africa will tour Sri Lanka.
Sports Minister Hon. Namal Rajapaksa said that the youth and sports sector was the worst affected after the Covid 19 epidemic. He said that with the experience gained through the recent LPL tournament with the recommendations of the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Tourism and Sports hopes to develop the tourism industry based on the integrated sports field. Minister Hon. Namal Rajapaksa said that the Ministry has already prepared an annual sports diary and will implement it with the assistance of the Ministry of Tourism in accordance with the health guidelines.
Minister Hon. Prasanna Ranatunga said that this was a golden opportunity to revive the tourism industry which had collapsed due to Covid. The Minister pointed out the need to implement this program without being bound by rules and regulations and stressed that the government's tourism targets could be achieved by implementing this program. The Minister pointed out that sports-based tourism is one of the most sought after sectors in the world today.
A high level committee comprising the Secretaries of the Ministries of Tourism, Sports and Health was appointed to develop the sports and tourism industry. In addition, it was decided to present a joint cabinet paper in this regard.
Minister of State Hon. V. Chanaka, Secretary to the Ministry. Mr. Hettiarachchi, Veteran Cricketer Mr. Mahela Jayawardena, Chairperson of the Tourism Development Authority Ms.Kimarli Fernando, Director General of the Civil Aviation Authority Mr.Themiya Abeywickrema, representatives of the Civil Aviation Authority, Airports and Airlines were also present on the occasion.