A Network of Community Based Tourism Projects was ceremonially launched at Panama in the East Coast, Sri Lanka, on the 30th June, 2016 (Thursday) These Projects are being supported by ILO and Australian Aid. Under these projects a Central Tourism Office of Panama Community Based Tourism Association (CBTA) and the Information Centre was opened at Panama. A Food Products Processing Centre, Home Stay Accommodation facilities, Centre for lagoon safari tours at Pananma and Urani, a Souvenir Shop at the Kumana National Park Office premises declared opened on the 30th June. Launching of Panama Community Based Tourism Association web site and the Urani Joint Tourism Initiative Web site also launched at the ceremony and Tourism related equipment such as surfing boards, bicycles, bullock carts, pontoon canoes also distributed to the selected associations took place at the ceremony.
Indrani Thudawe, ILO
The launch was hosted and organized by Priyantha Pushpakumara, President, Panama Community Based Tourism Association
Lagoon Safari Urani
The opening ceremony was graced by Ms. Indrani Thudawe, Chief Guest, (ILO) Mr. Nihal Dewagiri, National Programme Manager, LED Tourism Project, ILO, Mr. Sivasuthan Ramanathan of Australian High Commission, Colombo, Mr. Semarasa, Vasudev, Coordinator, LED Project, Ampara, District Secretary of Amapara, Palitha Gurusinghe, President, Sri Lanka Ecotourism Foundation.
Sri Lanka Ecotourism Foundation (SLEF) has been contracted by Australian Aid and ILO to develop and implement Promotional and Marketing Plans for the Community Based Tourism Projects funded and implemented under the Local Economic Development through Tourism Project (LED) of the ILO. SLEF is also entrusted in conducting awareness and training programmes for the community to handle tourism businesses of the above projects.
Local Economic Development (LED) through Tourism is a project implemented in Ampara and Batticaloa Districts by the International Labour Organization (ILO), funded by the Australian Government. The predominant objectives of the project are to support the poor and vulnerable communities of the districts into the tourism value chain by promoting tourism based livelihood activities, support the government institutions and the private sector stakeholders for developing and promoting the tourism sector and to develop and promote innovative tourism based products and services.
These Projects are located in Chenkaldy-Batticola (A permanent Community Based Camping Site), which will be operated by Rural Development Society-RDS, Sittandy, Kanagarkiramam Organic Agriculture Society (KOAS), Urani, Pottuvil and, Panampattu Sustainable Community Based Tourism
The Community Based Tourism Projects will offer the following tourism programmes for the eco, adventure and nature loving tourists.
• Community Camping in Eralakulam, Panama and Urani, Surf Camping at ‘Whisky Point’, Urani and Beach and Lagoon Camping
• Lagoon and Lake Safari Tours
• Wildlife Safaris, Bird Watching Tours at Kumana National Park, Lahugala National Park
• Cultural and archeological Tours in the districts
• Cycle and Bullock Cart Tours
• Agro and Organic Farm Tours
• Visit to Kudumbigala and other Buddhist Hermitages located in the forests
• Traditional Ayurvedic and Indigenous medical practices
And many more tourism activities
The Tourism Network could be contacted on:
Panama Community Based Tourism Association- Kumana Road, Panama
Telephone; 077 5108948 Email; email@example.com
Sri Lanka Ecotourism Foundation
Tel; 0777 631334