Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Please do not make Sri Lanka a playground of the foreigners and the rich, like Cuba under Batista.

There is no reason why Sri Lanka should put all its cards on tourism, as the number one money maker.  It should be kept in mind that  tourism while it brings financial benefits , it also brings  innumerable social problems. Sri Lanka as a developing country which made much head way in the economic growth should  consider for whose benefit  the country is being developed. It is the people of Sri Lanka that  should first  benefit by the country's development.

Secondly, the promoters of tourism should not be allowed to do so haphazardly, it should be planned at the highest level and Parliamentary approval should be obtained.  That is to avoid the infiltration of disadvantages, vice in all its different forms, and  loss of moral values  that could affect the country, socially and culturally.  Each time a new project is commenced for tourist attraction, one has to consider how much it would be beneficial to the country, what effect will it have on the people , to what extent it will cause damage to the environment, to the culture and the social fabric of the country, and whether such a project is really necessary.

There is a sudden interest in night motor  racing first in Colombo and they are proposing to bring it to Kandy.  How many people are going to benefit from this night racing  project.  Is it really necessary for the wellbeing of the people.  Is it a financially viable  project that would bring in more money to the country.  What other benefits will it have ?  Should the village youth be made to take an interest in night racing, and  for what reason and for what benefit ?  Have the organisers considered  the atmospheric  pollution, it would cause ?  This is a sport of the rich. Is it  really unnecessary to  promote it in Sri Lanka ? It would be in the interest of Sri Lanka to stop motor car racing whether in the day time or in the night.

If it is a project promoted by Nimal Rajapakse, it could be understood as he is a modern, fashionable young man rich enough to have his own  racing car.  But he is not doing so  with foresight.  If that is the case, the President should intervene to stop it as it is a game of the rich and will not benefit the country nor will it bring  more money   from a few rich western  racing car pilots  who will participate to make it another play ground for the big names of  sport of  car racing. 
Another project that is being talked about is opening of Casinos .  There was one casino long time back in Kandy in Sri Lanka.  It caused immense problems as people got addicted to games and spent all their earnings  in it.  Many got into debt. It will be like the liquor shops that have been opened in almost  every small town.   The poor people get ruined, families break up the poor take to prostitution.  Is that what Sri Lanka wants ?  It is the middle and the lower middle class people  who may  get interested in Casinos  and ruin themselves  catching the virus of the Casino games.

There was also a suggestion by a Member of the Parliament to open brothels.  There are also such houses already going on unchecked under different business names .  The leaders should take into account falling of moral standards, crime against women, child rape, and molestation of tourists. 
Back in Sri Lanka I was told how in a private textile weaving centres, the owner uses the working girls for prostitution.  There was a time when special sex tourisms were organised by some tour operators in some Western countries, where the  rich retired old men were taken to Philippines for sex with minors.  Tourism should not therefore be hailed as the ideal money maker.

Eagle Golf link is the fourth golf link  functioning in Sri Lanka. Is that a necessity ?  How many Sri Lankans gain from having golf links.  It also caters to the rich and well to do  western tourist. How many tourists come to play golf in Sri Lanka, and how many in SrI Lanka take to playing golf. There appears to be a mix up of priorities.  Every such project has money as the objective , without considering advantages and disadvantages  that come along with  such ventures.

It is the same with developing beach resorts for  sea surfing.  It should be  made a normal tourist attraction without making it a special attraction for competition surfing.  Some Sri Lanka beaches are ideal for Surfing, but one should not promote them for international competition standard.

The Sri Lanka’s ancient tanks were built by our kings  to provide farmers water for their farming lands.  Therefore no ancient tank  should be turned into a tourist attraction for boat riding and  surfing.

Hotels are coming up like mushrooms and all hotel rooms are not occupied.  The room rates are too high for local tourists.  The West is having an economic crisis and the western tourists tend to spend less.  Therefore, it is wise to slow down on development of the tourist Sector.

There are other important things that have still not been attended to such as settling down the Sinhala IDPs in Jaffna, which has been long delayed. The Government should also start Sinhala settlements in the north and east before it is too late.

Tourism is not well planned each one seems to have one’s own idea of tourism. What do the tourist coming from abroad want ?  Do they want a home away from home ?  Of course they would like to enjoy the beauty of nature. See how the people live  and relax in a sunny beach.  But meal wise do they want the same wines they drink at home ? Do they want hard liquor Whisky, Brandy, Martini, Gin etc., they find back home ?  They could easily  be substituted by Sri Lanka beer, and Arrack.

Why cannot Sri Lanka offer the tourist a real Sri Lankan holiday, without liquor simple Sri Lanka meals, preferably vegetarian, and fish (less  beef and chicken),  accompanied  with tea ?   Serve coconut juice and other fruit juices instead of expensive wines. 

What is important is the comfort in rooms secure un-interfered relaxation in the hotel premises. They should be provided security when travelling. The Tourist  Department should think out ways of  providing tourists with different  facilities than those  they have  in the countries from where they come,   but substitute those with exotic Sri Lankan facilities.  Make the tourists feel that they are living their holiday in Sri Lanka which is different in every respect from where they have  come. 

There had been reports of many attacks on tourists lately.  The tourist board should train special security officers for the safety of the tourists.  Many brawls that end up seriously are the results of consumption of excessive liquor by the locals, who are allowed in to hotels.  Tourists have their limits and know how to consume liquor.  It is the locals who have to be controlled

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