Sri Lanka

  • Thailand signs tourism deal with Sri Lanka

    Thailand and Sri Lanka have entered an agreement to promote bilateral tourism.

    A memorandum of understanding was signed by Kishu Gomes, chairman of the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority, and Chattan Kunjara Na Ayudhya, deputy governor for marketing in Asia and the South Pacific at the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), in Colombo on Tuesday.

    The event was witnessed by John Amaratunga, Sri Lanka’s minister of tourism development, wildlife and Christian religious affairs, and Chulamanee Chartsuwan, the Thai ambassador to Sri Lanka.

    Mr Chattan said the agreement will integrate cooperation to develop sustainable tourism between the two countries and pave the way for both agencies to exchange experience and manage the industry efficiently, even during crises.

    He said about 65,000 Sri Lankans visited Thailand last year and the volume is expected to reach 73,000 this year, a 12% rise from last year.

    Based on Sri Lanka’s tourism data, some 2.4 million foreigners visited the country last year, of whom about 10,000 were from Thailand.

    Mr Amaratunga was in Bangkok earlier this month for marketing campaigns to restore confidence in international tourists after the deadly terrorist attacks on the island in April.

    Part of the campaign is the theme of “Culinary Tourism” to attract travelers and food enthusiasts from around the world to visit Sri Lanka, which has been dubbed the Pearl of the Indian Ocean.

    Sri Lanka is offering a 24-hour online visa application service, and an official trip under the stewardship of the TAT will be arranged soon.


  • Sri Lanka to ban chainsaws, timber mills: president

    Sri Lanka will ban imports of chainsaws and shut timber mills within five years to protect forests, President Maithripala Sirisena’s office said Friday.

    Sirisena highlighted his determination to clamp down on illegal logging and increase the amount of territory devoted to forests at an environmental conference.

    “I have instructed officials to ban the import of chainsaw machines and blades from next week,” Sirisena told the conference on Thursday, his office said.

    Four months ago, Sirisena compelled all users to register chainsaws with police and 82,000 units were recorded within three weeks.

    The president, who is also environment minister, did not say if he will totally ban machines already in use, but that carpenters and loggers will have five years to shut timber mills and find alternate employment.

    He said there has been rapid deforestation in recent years, but gave no figures. Sirisena said however the new measures were aimed at raising the country’s forest cover to 32 percent of its land within a decade from 28 percent now.

    Sirisena’s term ends in January 2020, but he has indicated he will seek re-election.

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