- Sandathanna, which was closed on weekends and holidays, will be reopened on the instructions of Hon. Minister of Tourism Prasanna Ranathunga.
- New plans to develop Sandathanna Eco-Tourism Zone.
Nuwara Eliya Sandathanna (Moon plains) Eco-Tourism Zone, which was closed on weekends and public holidays, will be reopened. Hon. Minister of Tourism, Prasanna Ranathunga instructs the authorities to take actions with immediate effect.
The decision was taken at a special discussion held on the last 17th regarding the reopening of the Nuwara Eliya Sandathanna Eco-Tourism Zone on weekends and public holidays and its further development as a tourist attraction. The discussion was held at the Ministry of Tourism.
Sandathanna Eco-Tourism Zone, which is an area with a high level of local and foreign tourist attractions, was opened in the year 2014. This tourist zone is located close to the Seetha Seed Potato Farm in Nuwara Eliya which belongs to the Department of Agriculture, and the access road to this tourist zone is in the middle of the farm. Nine (9) major mountain ranges, such as Piduruthalagala, Kirigalpoththa, Haggala, and Namunukula can be viewed in this place.
This tourist area is more than 1600 feet above sea level and covers an area of one hundred and fifty-five hectares (155. Ha). The upper part of the land is about five thousand three hundred feet high (5300 ft.), which is equal to the height of the Horton Plains. This tourist zone is rich in mountainous lowlands, mountainous flora, and fauna that are indigenous. The daily income of this tourist zone was over Rs. 100, 000 before the pandemic.
Local and foreign tourists could not travel to this tourist zone in those days; since the Government Seed Potato Farm, which is located in the Sandathanna Eco-Tourist Zone, was closed on weekends and public holidays from January 27 due to non-payment of extra allowances to its employees. Minister Prasanna Ranathunga resolved the issue via a discussion with all the relevant parties after being informed of this. The Minister informed the authorities that he could not agree to close the tourist zones at that moment when tourists are returning to the country after the global pandemic.
He also added that the existing tourist zones could not be allowed to close due to other issues, while the government identifies more attractive tourist destinations and doing plans to develop them. The Minister further emphasized that the Tourism Development Authority has invested Rs. 17.2 billion to develop this eco-tourism zone and all the parties should have the responsibility to provide necessary facilities for local and foreign tourists. The Director-General of Agriculture informed the Minister that the steps are being taken to provide additional allowances for these employees.
The Minister also took immediate action to resolve several issues raised by the Jeep Drivers Association of the Sandathanna Tourist Zone. It was also decided to expedite the carpeting and reconstruction of the 4 km access road to the zone and to take immediate steps to facilitate local and foreign tourists who came to visit there. The Minister also instructed the authorities to be sensitive according to the environmental conditions of the place. He also gave instructions to the authorities to take the necessary steps to open the tourist zone at 6 am.
Secretary to the Ministry of Tourism, Mr S. Hettiarachchi, Director General of the Department of Agriculture, Prof. Ajantha de Silva, Director General of the Tourism Development Authority, Mrs. Dhammika Wijesinghe, and representatives of the Sandathanna Tourist Zone Safari Drivers Association were also present at the discussion.