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ECONOMYNEXT – The controversial reckless driving incident in Sri Lanka’s Yala National Park could have been avoided if steps had been taken to promote adventure tourism in the country, the Minister of State for Sport and Tourism has said Youth, Rohana Dissanayake.

People believed to be associated with several high-profile politicians recently took a ride through a restricted area of ​​Yala National Park. Video footage of four-wheel-drive vehicles drifting across an open plain inside the park has gone viral, sparking much outrage on social media and elsewhere. The suspects were later arrested and blacklisted by the Department of Wildlife, barring them from entering any national park in the country.

“Children from an early age are interested in these adventurous activities and over time they want to try these adventurous sports,” Minister Dissanayake said Thursday, November 30, speaking to reporters.

“I don’t take their side, but what we saw at Yala was an example of a surge of this desire to participate in these types of ports.

“If we had at least provided young people with nine tracks in the nine provinces, this could have been avoided. I think as a ministry we have fallen a little behind in this area,” he said.

The minister was speaking at a press conference in Colombo to promote adventure sports in the country and to unveil the ministry’s plans to work with the private sector to promote and regulate adventure sports such as 4×4 adventure riding and white water rafting in Sri Lanka. to sports tourism.

Sri Lanka, which is going through its worst currency crisis in decades, is struggling to attract more foreign exchange and is currently exploring ways to attract more tourists and send more locals abroad for jobs abroad. abroad in order to increase remittances abroad.

Dissanayake said the ministry is working with the Maxis tire company and Iron Man 4×4 teams for a public-private partnership to promote these sports in the country and develop them nationally.

The ministry is currently exploring land in nine provinces to create off-road tracks for the sport, he said.

The ministry will also take steps to reform and regulate rafting in the Kitulgala area following demands from residents, tourists and local politicians, he added.

Although Sri Lanka is known for its various adventure sports venues, the country’s tourism sector has only promoted rafting, kite surfing and surfing, the minister said.

By improving adventure sports in Sri Lanka, the country will have a greater chance of attracting more tourists, thus helping to improve its currency situation, he added. (Colombo/November 3, 2022)

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