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Sri Lanka beckons

Sri Lanka is looking for ways to boost marine tourism as the country develops its reputation as a boating hub.

04 April 2024


Sri Lanka is embarking on a new journey to position the island nation as a premier destination for marine and superyacht tourism, thanks to a comprehensive plan being implemented before the end of the first quarter.

That’s according to Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB) chairman Chalaka Gajabahu, who reveals that the bureau has crafted a comprehensive plan for marine tourism in 2024. The bureau is awaiting the completion of regulatory reviews before implementing the plan within the first quarter.

“This strategic blueprint encompasses tourism investments, equipment, transportation and infrastructure development,” says Gajabahu. He notes that SLTPB has partnered with the Sri Lanka Navy to “enhance water-related activities and instil confidence in water-based endeavours.”

The marine tourism masterplan was developed in collaboration with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA).


The Chamber of Marine Industries aims to promote boating among Sri Lankans and make the country a boat manufacturing hub, says the chamber’s chairman, Indhra Kaushal Rajapaksa, as quoted by local media.

He further highlights the chamber’s plans to develop small boat launch facilities, promote marina development, and host boat exhibitions in the near future. Rajapaksa adds that Sri Lanka has a good boat manufacturing base, and the Chamber hopes to promote boat ownership among the citizens.

In conversation with The Daily Morning Business, Rajapaksa highlights that maritime tourism will grow if the government loosens the strict laws and allows international yachtspeople to visit the country.

Not only foreign visitors but Sri Lankans, too, want to sail around the country.

Currently, the country lacks the necessary facilities, especially harbours to anchor boats, breakwater construction, boat security, and places with shelter, food, water, and other necessities. In addition, more regulations are being imposed to get permission to sail around the country.

Rajapaksa shares his perspective on the chamber’s plans to develop small boat launch facilities, promote marina development, host boat exhibitions, and deal with industry-related matters. He says the chamber is optimistically driven to achieve its goals by positively interacting with the government.

Moreover, the chamber is a member of The International Council of Marine Industry Associations (ICOMIA), an industry association providing exposure to many countries.

In January 2024, the Tourism Minister Harin Fernando said: “Sri Lanka aims to be a premier marine tourism destination in 2024.”

Priyantha Perera, who heads up superyacht agency Asia Pacific Superyachts Sri Lanka, agrees with that sentiment.

“Government and the yachting community and industry all agree Sri Lanka has tremendous potential to realise its vision of becoming a maritime hub in the region,” says Perera.

“There is a focus on opening up to cruising tourism. The many regulations concerning tender boat operations and the lack of anchorages suitable for superyachts held back significant superyacht cruising, which now actually adds to its attraction as a stunning adventure cruising destination.”

Pereraa adds: “We can advise on moorings and restrictions, and as space is limited at Galle, there are important procedures for captains to be aware of.

“The main cruising destinations in Sri Lanka are the northeast coast and the southern coast, which boast some of the most pristine beaches in the world. Yacht guests can craft a unique itinerary that includes sampling the best of traditional Sri Lankan cuisine and one-of-a-kind events such as ‘Stilt Fishing,’ an authentic experience not found anywhere else in the world.”



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