Sunday, June 18, 2017

Tourism Overlooks Livelihood Recovery in Post-War Sri Lanka

PHURWA GURUNG on 06/17/2017


In July 2016, the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), in association with the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA), organized a four-day international conference in Passikudah, Batticaloa district. Its theme was: “Tourism: A Catalyst for Development, Peace and Reconciliation.” According to the UNWTO website, the conference attracted 150 participants comprising 70 international delegates from 26 countries. Among others, it held a session on “Local community involvement and peace sensitive tourism: the role of local communities in not only provision of goods and services but also in decision making to facilitate peace and development”.  Local fisher folks and representatives from Community Guest House Owners’ Association and Rural Development Society, two key civil society organizations in Kalkudah, Passikudah contend that they were neither informed nor consulted at any stage of the event. To explore more, I visited Passikudah and Kuchchaveli between January 9-14, 2017 and interviewed 7 fisher folks, 4 local leaders and 5 tourist entrepreneurs on site, with the help of a local journalist.