28th January 2020 at Hotel Ovia, Vavuniya
EFECS organised an introductory session on 16th December 2019 focussing on the Kovilkulam Women Thrift and Credit Cooperative Society, Vavuniya to give a brief introduction to the members on Tourism in order to commence the development of village mapping exercise.
With the active support of the members of the society, EFECS was able to introduce the Toruism Development Strategy for the Vavuniya region as well as the focussed village of Kovilkulam and presented at a Focussed Group Discussion held on 28th January 2020 at Hotel Ovia with the participation of Existing Tourism Entrepreneurs as well as the cooperative society members interested in entering int the industry.
The session was conducted under the patronage of Mrs. Indra Subasinghe, Assistant Commissioner Vavuniya, Department of Cooperative Development. Dr. Nantha Gopan, Dean of the Business Faculty of Vavuniya and prominent business figures in Vavuniya those who are engaged in tourism related businesses as well as the cooperative community participants from various regions of the District were attended the session.
Mr. Martin Mailhot, Value Chain Advisor of the project welcome the participants and introduced about EFECS project in brief.
After the initial introductory session and the project implementation strategy was presented by Ms. Harshi Abeynayake, Value Chain Officer, Tourism, EFECS Project with the assistance of Mr. Vishwanathan Sinthujan, Market Development Officer (Northern Province), the audience were presented with a colourful video presentation on Tourism.
Then the tourism development plan prepared with the community of Kovilkulam society was presented by Mr. Samith Maduranga, Town and Country Planner from University of Moratuwa. He explained that Vavuniya has the basic infrastructure such as Water, Electricity, Network coverage, road network and also it consisted with lots of agricultural Lands. Mainly the area is connected with small and the medium level tanks which is a prominent hint for tourism development. Moreover, Vavuniya plays the transitional role in the Northern Province where anybody must visit in order to access almost 80% of Northern Province.
Yet, the marginal level of Education and employment among youth as well as the lack of continuous income sources have become a challenge for the district compared with others. However, considering all pross and cons, it was proposed for Vavuniya to become a Paragon of Backpackers dwelling in Vauniya by 2030.
In order to reach this vision, it was proposed to enhance tourism management Knowledge of the community, to lend a hand for new entrepreneurs, to increase the length of stay of tourists at the village Objective and to increase daily expenditure of the tourist by providing verity of opportunities.
Participants commented on the project afterword.
Ms. Mathivathani, Lecturer from Project management in Vavuniya campus added lots of important facts into the session since she has done five researches in Tourism. With her experiances, she mentioned that the Poonary malai in Nedunkerny has a high potential for tourism & also can introduce forest tourism in Cheddikulam area which is an elephant sanctuary. There are lot of Ayurvedic Practitioners scattered in Madukanda area and there is a potential to promote ayurvedic tourism. Further she mentioned that the religious places like Palani murugan and Madukanda vihara can be promoted for pilgrims.
“We have 10 members attached with Palmyrah products in Nedunkerny area and we as the society as well as individually sell our products. We see lots of opportunities with tourism but need more support in terms of marketing knowledge to proceed further” said Ms.Thakshila, Palmyra cooperative society Nedunkerny.
“We have lot of milk products here and we will be able to introduce the milk products to tourist & they can explain about the processing methods” said Ms. Jeewarani fom Milk Board. “Without disturbing our culture and way of living, we will be able to give the opportunity to the tourist to experience” voiced Mr. Rajeswarn, owner of Thamilkoodal Organic Farm. While promoting organic products, we must use the adequate resources like ponds, forests and traditional farms we have said Mr. Rangan, another participant. He further explanoed that there is a heritage site over 1000 years old in Cheddikulam called Vauvaale that can be promoted for tourism. Mr. Raveendiranathan, running an organic farm in Vavuniya said that he engages with bee culture handicrafts, cultivating herbals and aloe vera and carpentry. Even he has some important medicinal plants to promote among the tourists. “I have a restaurant in India and planning to establish a nature friendly open hotel in Vavuniya and I got many information through this session” said Mr. Siva. Samll and Medium Hotelires in Vavuniya also.
Aatral Arasi Women Society who manufactures Palmyrah Handycrafts was presented at the forum to understand the opportunities in tourism. Ms. Karthika Somasundaram, Project Extension Officer, SANASA Federation and Ms. Vibeeshana Yogarajah, Women Development Officer, SANASA Uththamavi also attended the programme to coordinate with the cooperative societies and women societies.
SANASA Development Bank of Vavuniya and Mannar branch presented on the available SME products.
“The next session will be focussing on each identified group in the area to implement the plan” said Ms. Harshi Abeynayake delivering the vote of thanks.