Posted on February 13th, 2016

 Dr Sarath Obeysekera

Much hype about Sri Lanka to be a hub for marina users and convert Galle and Mirrissa  into a Marinas for yacht owners to patronize Sri Lanka and yet one should seriously analyse the infrastructure including basic facilities to be available for the tourists to enjoy when they are in Sri Lanka

When I speak to SLPA and Customs ,they tell me that the  yacht owners are like back pack tourists who either do not have money to spend Sri Lanka and sometimes buy the breakfast and dinner from Chuun Pan -Three wheelers to save money

Yacht owners who have few yachts is Sri Lanka attracting outsiders to come and enjoy marine touristic areas tell me another story

Customs and SLPA security is corrupt and   connive with agents in Sri Lank and rip them off

Everytime they want to go out of the harbour and come in they need an entry pass

If they buy even a batik shirt they have to show to customs ,other wise they have to be bribed

When the yacht owner wants to go out of the harbour they need permission

If they cross southern western naval command they have to inform Western or Eastern naval command and get permission

If not they will be intercepted and fined and seek bribes like Whiskey bottles or turned back

In Galle near the Marina which is built recently to attract yacht owners is next to a defunct gas barge which is owned by a local company which is anchored there for the last 14 years and there is a fear that it will sink

No one wants to remove it citing legal procedures instituted

Who would like to anchor their boat/yacht to a Gas Barge?

There are yacht repair-facility near Marina and there are no entertainment facilities in the city of Galle except some five start hotels away in Hikkaduwa

Galle town is in a dirty condition except the Galle For which is somewhat well looked after

Government should look at the short comings and request private sector to develop the area and give incentives before inviting tourists to Sri Lanka

Government should also build the offshore breakwater out side Galle Harbour connecting Galle Fort rocks and Roomassala Hill

Japan has already offered to financial help Sri Lanka to develop the enlarged Marina

Government should remove all un-authorized structures along the Galle –Matara road closer to entrance to Highway and make that area available for anchoring Yachts

Otherwise we will only be getting hippies who will depend  on Chuun Paaan Economy with no tangible benefit but increase in Drug Sales



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