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August 25, 2010

India And Srilanka to Strengthen Bilateral Cooperation in Tourism Sector;
to Exchange Information and Expertise on Urban Poverty Alleviation Programmes


25 August 2010

The Minister for Economic Development, Srilanka Mr. Basil Rajpaksa called on Tourism and Housing & Urban Poverty Alleviation Minister Kumari Selja here today. During their an hour long meeting, both the leaders discussed matters relating to tourism, housing and urban poverty alleviation. Both the sides agreed to strengthen bilateral relations in the tourism sector particularly in the light of the MoU signed in 2004 between India and Srilanka. Kumari Selja expressed happiness over the fact that India receives sizable number of tourists from Srilanka and Buddhist Sites in India are the most favored destinations with the travelers from Srilanka. She said, India is interacting with Srilanka on tourism cooperation under SAARC forum. She said, both the countries may consider cooperation in the field of Human Resource Development, Destination Management and promotion in the tourism sector. She suggested that both the countries may develop strong relationship and linkages between various stakeholders like travel and tour operators, hoteliers etc. She said, both the countries may undertake joint promotion and marketing to increase the tourist arrivals in the region. She stressed upon need to promote intra-regional tourism. She also proposed joint meetings between the two countries at official and stakeholders level. Underlining the importance of diverse nature of tourist destinations of South Asia, Kumari Selja suggested better packaging of these destinations to the outside world. She also suggested promotion of Cruise Tourism jointly.

The visiting dignitary showed keen interest in programmes of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation being run by the Government of India and Kumari Selja outlined several initiatives taken by India like Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) and slum development. She particularly referred to the Rajiv Awas Yojana aiming to make India a slum free country. Mr. Rajpaksa referring to the growing urbanization said India and Srilanka could exchange information and experts’ views on matters relating to slum development and street vending management to make life better for the urban poor.

Shri Basil Rajpaksa agreeing to strengthen bilateral cooperation between the two countries in the tourism sector, invited Kumari Selja to visit Srilanka to discuss the scope of further cooperation between the two countries on tourism, housing and urban poverty alleviation.