Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority

Development Guidelines

Listed below are general guidelines. However, these will depend on the topography, sociological and environmental aspects of the site.

1. Density

Density is an intensive property or the mass per unit volume. In the tourism industry, density will monitor the accommodation volume per area. General guidelines set per location are:

Location type

Maximum accommodation

Sensitive/rural areas

25 rooms per hectare


62 rooms per hectare


125 rooms per hectare


Total footprint of the building should be less than 25% of the total land area

2. Buildings Heights

In order to enable the economic maximisation of available tourism land whilst protecting the visual quality of the area:

  • Maximum storeys in the rural area should be restricted to two.
  • Ridges of the roof should be below an average Coconut tree (16m).

  • The Ground floor should be up to 7.5m with a ridge height of 5m.

  • Buildings over 100m high could be developed as Ground floor plus one floor with a ridge height of 10m.

  • Buildings over 200m high could be developed as Ground floor plus two floors with a ridge height of 15m.

Note: All buildings should be in harmony with the features of the land and locality, and structurally sound and able to withstand a cyclone.

3. Buffer Zones

Landscaped buffer zones should be provided around the building as a protective barrier against noise to help maintain the privacy of the facility and enhance the quality of the property.

4. Construction/Design Guidelines

  • A coastal reservation of 50m-65m from the permanent vegetation line should be allocated
  • Private paths should be between the edge of a coastal resort and the bio shield.
  • No boundary walls are allowed - hedges and live fences are recommended.
  • Bicycle and pedestrian tracks should be provided on either side of the highway.
  • Internal roads parallel to the main highway should be built to provide access.
  • Site coverage should be limited to 30%.
  • Power cables should be laid underground.
  • Surface water should be purified, recycled and reused for flushing.
  • Waste should be separated at source, recycled and reused.
  • The use of neon-signs is restricted.

5. Visual Quality

All proposed buildings for tourist facilities should incorporate local exterior architectural, and, where possible, traditional patterns, designs and motifs in the interior decoration. This does not exclude the use of modern design and décor, preferably using local material that does not clash with traditional styles.

6. Conservation

All buildings should be designed to conserve natural resources such as water and energy.

7. Project proposal Guidelines

The Project Report should include the following:

  • Introduction
  • Scale
  • Concept
  • Location
  • Product Development
  • Financial Plan
  • Marketing Strategy
  • Community Benefits
  • Timelines for Completion