Sri Lanka Celebrates World Tourism Day 2009
The Ministry of Tourism along with the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) organised the World Tourism Day 2009 (WTD09) Celebrations. The main celebrations were held at Marine Drive (Colombo) and Mount Lavinia Beach on the September 27. Celebrations were also held in other parts of the country with the support of provincial administrations and stakeholders.
In Mount Lavinia a Beach Clean-up and Tree Planting Campaign was held. Guide Boards on ‘Pleasant Environment’ were also hung and a trailer for garbage collection on the beach was placed.
At Marine Drive, Colombo the Honourable Minister for Tourism, Mr. Nandana Gunatillake inaugurated the Beach Clean-up and Tree Planting Campaign. A Painting Competition and Kite Competition were also held. Approximately 22 schools participated in the Painting Competition, which was based on four different themes and involved painting a section of the wall adjoining the Bambalapitiya Railway Station.
“Two significant initiatives launched by the Sri Lanka Tourism to celebrate World Tourism Day 2009 were ‘ Tourist Friendly Tuk Tuk’ and ‘Cleaning & Greening of Marine Drive’” said Malraj B.Kiriella, Director International Relations & Research of the SLTDA, the main organizer of event who spearheaded these two special projects.
The ‘Cleaning and Greening Campaign’ is a long term project that hopes to cultivate a ‘Pleasant Environment’ in Sri Lanka. Marine Drive and Mount Lavinia Beach were the first areas to be ‘Cleaned and Greened’. Over 100 Palm trees and 75 Kottamba trees were planted along Marine Drive. The SLTDA has also introduced a ‘Foster Guardian’ scheme that allows the public to adopt a stretch of land. The SLTDA hopes to take this project to other parts of the country as well.
The ‘Tourist Friendly Tuk Tuk’ is a metered taxi that adheres with SLTDA standards, and can be accessed easily by tourists visiting Sri Lanka. At the launch, 50 Tuk Tuks were introduced in Colombo. Over the year, more Tuk Tuks would be introduced in other popular tourist cities in the island.
A School Awareness Programme on Tourism and Environment was held at the S. De. S Jayasinghe Maha Vidyalaya, Dehiwala on September 24. The programme was held with the assistance of the Western Provincial Education Ministry and the Central Environmental Authority.
Approximately 150 students representing 12 schools participated in the programme. Mr. P.U Rathnayaka (Director DTD & RM SLTDA), Mr. U.P.S Pathirana (Former Director SLTDA), Mr. Dheera Hettiarachchi (SLTDA) and Mr. R. Walpola (Dep. Director CEA) delivered lectures at the programme.
A training programme for all Beach Facilitators (Vendors) was held on September 17. Sponsored by United Traders Association, the event was conducted at the Mount Lavinia Hotel.
The event was attended by approximately 25 beach facilitators. Mr. P.U Rathnayaka (Director DTD & RM SLTDA), Mr. U.P.S Pathirana (Former Director SLTDA), Mr. W.P. Dayarathne (Former DIG Sri Lanka Police), Mr. Dheera Hettiarachchi (SLTDA), and Mr. Nayanapriya Edirisinghe (OIC, Sri Lanka Tourist Police) delivered lectures on various industry related topics. At the end of the programme, participants were requested to sit for a written examination, which was based on the topics discussed during the programme.