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SL needs to capitalize on the ‘wealth’ of water sports

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By Sunil Thenabadu Brisbane

“Travel as a way of life” to enhance tourism is a precedent area is water sports as confessed by Ramesh Silva who is an expert in water sports.

Silva is currently attached as a senior deckhand in a Hatch owned by a billionaire UK businessman, since 2007. 

According to Silva “the water sports industry is a fast-growing sport worldwide with many preferring to be water sports instructors while making a making it a career of choice. This is one of the vital segments that Sri Lankan authorities should focus on in order to improve tourism, given the abundance of the natural ocean surrounding the country as a myriad of natural in-land natural water streams”.

Ramesh is also of the opinion that authorities also need to create awareness of the potential revenue that could be generated by emulating industry counterparts in Europe.

“Vacation is compulsory for any worker in any sphere or trade worldwide. Travel is the topmost hobby selected by the majority for leisure. Those in European countries prefer to spend holidays in Asian countries including Sri Lanka, which has been perceived as an ideal destination.  In Sri Lanka, the water sports industry is at a relatively low ebb but it is fast-growing. However, unfortunately,  Sri Lanka has a dearth of professional water sports instructors with only a handful anticipating to make a career out of it since prospects remain bleak. It is high time that authorities heading Sri Lanka’s tourist industry intervene if water sports are to be developed into a lucrative and revenue-generating industry”.

Silva also says that Authorities should take steps to spread awareness of the potential revenue that could be generated.

However, funding remains vital together with the conformity of accepted industry standards.

“In the context of the foregoing, Sri Lanka has a long way to go but if sufficient attention is focused, the tourist industry would get a major boost and ensure the flow of inbound foreign currency. Another area that needs particular attention is the protection of the marine environment including marine life if water sports are to thrive in Sri Lanka. Interest in ‘Whale Watching” exists which needs to be precisely regulated. The manner the boats are manipulated may at times be harmful to species. Hence all commercial routes should not distract the habitats of fish.  The Yachting Industry plays a phenomenal role in the European economy. Local authorities should be willing to attract luxury ‘Yachts” with environment flexible rules, conditions that lay emphasis on cleanliness & zero pollution. Charges offered should be a standard fee for all tourists.  In order to improve the industry & generate foreign currency, licensing should be made compulsory as with other developed countries. Related authorities should also put in regulations to ensure the safety of divers as well as thrill-seekers” Silva said.

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