He was speaking during a media conference in Sri Lanka last week which was held following the successful conclusion of the conference ‘Tourism : a Catalyst for Development, Peace and Reconciliation”.
The conference was held in Pasikudah from July 11 - 14.
Speaking on what message he will convey to the international community on the progress of Tourism in Sri Lanka, he said that he will emphasise on two points.
Point one, he noted, was how serious Sri Lankan and its government was on establishing peace.
“Making peace is not easy at all. Making peace is not just about stopping the war… It is slow and it will take time… But Sri Lanka is serious and its going in the right direction…
Point two was how serious Sri Lanka was on Tourism.
“You have great assets here. But its never what you have. Its what you do with what you have that makes a difference.”
Petra National Foundation Chair Princess Dana Firas, United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) Secretary General, Dr. Taleb Rifai, Tourism Development Minister John Amaratunga and Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau and Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority Chairman P.M. Withana also attended the media briefing.
Speaking, Princess Dana Firas said, The one thing that struck me about Sri Lanka was how rich it is in heritage and how deeply aware its’ people was of it.
Speaking, Minister John Amaratunga said, “The conference opened our eyes to the reality that though the war maybe over but scars still remain.” He added that the Eastern province is poised for a rapid growth and tourism is the main focus of an industrial masterplan which is being drawn up by the Provincial council backed by the Central government.
Adding his voice, Tourism Development Authority Chairman P.M. Withana said that hosting an international conference has given Sri Lanka Tourism a major opportunity to develop the tourism industry and this will be a path to build the peace and reconciliation among the communities.