28th February 2020 at Ahash Hotel, Mannar
EFECS Project successfully concluded the last Focus Group Discussion in Northern Province on 28th February 2020 in Ahash Hotel, Mannar with the participation of 65 stakeholders engaged in Tourism in the District. Mrs. C.S.Amirthanathan, Assistant Commissioner, Department of Cooperative Development in Mannar District graced the occasion as the Chief Guest and the Senior Officials from SANASA District Union also attended the event.
Over 40 growth-oriented Micro, Small and Medium Entrepreneurs in Tourism from Mannar District officially registered with the Project to interact in future programmes. The stakeholders endorsed the Participatory Approach and the Design presented by EFECS in terms of strengthening the Tourism Value Chain.
Distinguished guests lighting of Traditional Oil Lamp……
“EFECS is a joint development project between Développement International Desjardins (DID) of Canada and SANASA International Pvt (Ltd) of Sri Lanka. This project aims to support the development of Micro, Small and Medium scale Entrepreneurs (MSME’s) in Sri Lanka” stated by Mr. Martin Mailhot, Value Chain Advisor, EFECS Project welcoming the gathering.
A video presentation on Développement International Desjardins (DID) was brought up to the audience to experience the projects that are being carried out by DID internationally.
“Mannar has lot of potentials for tourism and it is high time for the community to be focussed on Tourism industry to uplift their economic status” mentioned Mrs. C. S.Amirthanathan, Assistant Commissioner, Department of Cooperative Development in Mannar District addressing the audience.
“Guest Speech” by Assistant Commissioner Mannar District, Department of Cooperative Development.
“Sri Lanka Tourism Industry has experienced several hard hits along with the civil war, as well as from the devastating Tsunami. Yet, the numbers stayed resilient on a considerable growth rate, as recorded year on year. 447,890 tourists arrived in 2009 which increased up to 1,913,702 in 2019. Sri Lanka Tourism is strong enough to recover very soon after any kind of a threat due to the Attractive Tourism Offers said Ms. Harshi Abeynayake, Value Chain Officer Tourism of the EFECS project introducing the Tourism Value Chain Approach.
Existing tourism products potential for Mannar were presented using a video presentation including Nature, Culture, Beach, Heritage as well as some of the Niche segments like Ramayana Trail, Wedding Tourism, Film Tourism and Community Tourism.
Audience was given a chance to experience memorable clips of “Monkey Kingdom” a Disney movie shot in Sri Lanka as well as the historic Ramayana Legend which demonstrate the ancient bridge of Mannar connected Sri Lanka and India three thousand years ago.
“Village based Tourism Strategic Plan for Mannar” was presented by Department of Town & Country Planning, University of Moratuwa.
Ideal Agro-Tourism Model was introduced based on the Adampan Area in Mannar which has lots of potentials for Agriculture based tourism.
Potential locations for Wedding Photography and Filming were identified in Talaimannar, Keeri Beach and Beach belt near Doric Bungalow as well as Kal Aru. Pesalai, Vankalai were presented as potential sites for bird watching.
Historic Trail which was introduced based on Ramayanaya Legends and story of King Vijaya and Queen Kuweni will be able to offer a unique experience for the travellers prefer to discover a land old over 3000 years.
The session was addressed by Mr. Sanka Wijekulasooriya, General Manager, Hummingbird Travels who was voluntarily participated the focussed group discussion to share the ideas under the theme of “Sri Lanka in a traveller’s eye”.
He explained that the travellers expect Authenticity, Good Service & Food, Clean Accommodation and Transport from Sri Lanka. He further elaborated Why it’s important not to undercut the companies who give the business to the bottom players in the value chain.
The participants expressed their ideas on Tourism Development in Mannar District at the forum.
“Training is very important for this area because there are no professional education centres to provide hospitality education. Giving an awareness on tourism will be meaningful to attract the youth and school leavers” said a participant addressing the forum.
Manager of SANASA Development Bank, Mannar Branch presented all loan schemes available for the SMEs.
The support given by the Northern Province Cooperative Commissioner as well as the University of Moratuwa in terms of presenting a sustainable community-based tourism model was specially appreciated by Ms. Harshi Abeynayake, Value Chain Officer Tourism, EFECS Project delivering the vote of thanks.