Northern Province (Mullaitivu District), 18th December 2019 at Kaadda Vinayakar Thrift and Credit Society, Mulliyavalai East, Mullaitivu.
In fact, organising the village community for tourism is a challenge in any country. Specially, Mullaitive as one of the districts which was heavily affected by the civil war doubled the gravity of this challenge. Considering the importance of introducing sustainable entrepreneurial opportunities to this community, EFECS project decided to strengthen the tourism value chain in Mullaitive District offering financial and non-financial supports.
The project recognised the need of inculcating the best practices of tourism value chain development into the village. Therefore, it selected a potential society to introduce the technical model. As the first step, members of the Kaadda Vinayakar Thrift and Credit Society successfully operates in Mulliyavalai East was given a brief introduction on tourism industry and about the project implementation strategy in November 2019.
Thereafter, the project team engaged with the village community and carried out a comprehensive feasibility and sensitivity analysis in the area to understand the potentialities for tourism development.
Presentation of the Village Plan prepared with the participation of the village community as well as the initial registration of existing and interested entrepreneurs into the project was conducted on 18th December 2019 in Mulliyavalai East Multi-Purpose Hall with the participation of 35 tourism stakeholders in Mullaitivu District.
Assistant Cooperative Commissioner of Mullaitivu, Mr. Singanayagam, Cooperative Development Officer, Mr. S Krishnakumar, SANASA District Union Field Officer, Mr. Aniston participated this occasion. Mr. Luxchan, Manager of SANASA Development Bank – Kilinochchi Branch also represented the forum.
EFECS as a joint development project between Développement International Desjardins (DID) of Canada and SANASA International Pvt (Ltd) of Sri Lanka.
we have successfully tested and implemented two value chains as Pepper and Indigenous Rice and Tourism is the third value chain where the project expects to develop as a pilot project said Mr. Martin Mailhot, Value Chain Advisor, EFECS Project welcoming the audience.
Ms. Harshi Abeynayake, Value Chain Officer (Tourism) of EFECS Project briefed about the proposed activities to both existing and interested tourism MSME in the village and surrounding areas.
6 tourism MSME groups were formed after a complete registration process in Mullaitivu District with the people those who are interested to come on board with the project.
SANASA Development Bank of Kilinochchi extended their fullest cooperation towards the development of this value chain and introduced their SME products at the forum.
Complete Technical Presentation on the Village Profile was carried out by the University of Moratuwa, Department of Town and Country Planning on Tourism Development.
“This village has lot of potentials to develop tourism such as Strong and united community, Well connected road network, Scenic beauty, nature and ecosystem (tanks, forest, cultivations, lagoons, marshlands), Agro-based production (Cashew, Paddy, Palmyra, Coconut, Livestock Farming, Teak), Cultural and traditional medicine, Location of attractions in the vicinity” mentioned Ms. Naduni Wijewardena, Department of Town and Country Planning, University of Moratuwa.
Mulliyawalai can be promoted as “Eco2 Cultural Tourism villag”e, (Economic x Ecological) + Cultural. Ultimately Mulliyawalai by 2030, will become a empower and well-connected tourism village with economic, ecological (environment) and cultural if successfully developed and promoted said Ms. Wijewardena.Detailed plan to promote tourism as well as the possible areas were presented with a possible tourism route.
Assistant Cooperative Commissioner of Mullaitivu explained the importance of Tourism Development in Mullaitivu District. “There are only two hotels in Mullaitivu that can facilitate the tourists. We must encourage hoteliers to build up good hotels in Mullaitivu area. At the same time, we must take actions to prevent drugs, child abuses and other violence that are possible to grow with tourism said Mr. Singanayagam addressing the forum.
Manager, SDB Kilinochchi conducted an interactive session with the audience and the entrepreneurs raised many questions related to the existing loan products of SDB as well as the possibilities of obtaining their services.
“I have a potential land but has no permanent address though I used to manufacturer ayurvedic products using firewood and authentic natural practices. I have an idea of building a small scale Ayurvedic treatment centre in that land, will your bank able to support?” questioned one of the participants. Manager, SDB highlighted the importance of having a proper business development plan and he expressed his willingness to assist through the Bank.
“I’m a tailor and hoping to expand the business entering into the tourism business under the amenities category. I have a requirement of purchasing machineries required to produce more quality work” stated one of the ladies at the forum. Manager, SDB explained about the process of obtaining group loans by forming a women team those who have the same requirement.
A cashew product manufacturer interested in expanding the business into tourism stated that he has obtained a loan from BOC to purchase machinery and looks forward to expanding with his business idea of producing Milo from the cashew crust. Manager, SDB proposed that getting into an approach like selling the crust for the oil manufacturers located in areas specially like Ratnapura would be an ideal solution for his marketing difficulties. He further explained about the SDB loan scales to give a brief idea to the audience.
“I’m a driver and interested in involving with tourism in future” mentioned Mr. K Pushparasha, a Three Wheel Driver from Iynar, Kudiiruppu, Mulliyawaleyi.
Mr. A G M Siraj runs and Agri Farm in Neeravipatti, Mulliyawaleyi East awaiting to start-up Agro Tourism Business in the near future and expects the knowledge and the capacity from the project.
“I’m a chef and I expect to develop a small-scale hotel near Kokilai Lagoon with a restaurant. I wish to participate for the capacity building programmes as well as other activities to be conducted by this project” mentioned Mr. Pradeep Gunathillake attended the event.
“As a professional photographer, I believe there are more and more opportunities if we develop tourism in this area” mentioned Mr. I Jegadeesh at the forum.
“There are lots of Cultural Dancers and Performing Artists in this area. But they have diverted their profession due to the poor income levels. If this project could develop a professional pool of dancers to show their colours to the tourists conducting shows in hotels, that would be a great work. I give my fullest cooperation towards this project, mentioned Mr. A Muruguppulla one of the senior members of the society.
Mr. Vishwanathan Sinthujan, Market Development Officer conducted the whole session in Tamil language.