Nautical tourists are badly treated in Galle
Posted on June 11th, 2020

Dr. Sarath Obeysekera 

Photos illustrated here show Galle Harbour with several yachts owned by foreign sailing tourists who are in Sri Lanka during this lull tourist period 

Next to the yacht park in the Harbour Is the building which is a  yacht repair facility established in 2014

This project was abandoned in 2015 by the foreign investor with local participation due to various reasons in the country at that time 

Local partners tried several years to recommence but four ministers who were in charge the port since that time never wanted it to be revived When I personally met them and proposed various ways of reviving the yacht repair yard in smaller scale    Ministers were not willing to help due to reasons you can always guess.

One minister called me  Panditaya when I was persistent that it is a waste of a valuable space 

Southern area development minister was approached once again and he gave many excuses not to allow it. At one point I shook my head due to sheer frustration and dismay and  I was severely reprimanded by the minister.

When I pass by the Galle port I feel sad that our  country cannot go forward because of these type of short-sighted ministers 

Today building which was purchased by investors from the  Port is standing idle for six years and finally, last week has taken over for by the Navy for Corona quarantine per purpose 

Now you can see the garbage lying in the Harbour and lack of basic facilities. Foreign yacht owners were treated badly by customs and Port with no food supplies and other basic needs 

It is unfortunate that the Tourist Board and SLPA do not understand the potential of Galle as a Tourist destination.

We have to do something about developing nautical tourism and attract more foreign Income during these lean days 

Tourist Board once asked us what is Nautical Tourism when we met them to explain  they said that they know only about tourist arriving by air and going to beach 

It is paramount that The president takes immediate action and develop Galle  port firstly by removing the scrap barge originally imported by Mundo Gas and now obstructing the port’s valuable berthing space 

This mammoth ugly scrap barge is  berthed for over 16 years which can sink at any moment 

This barge was deployed with the connivance of the minister at that time and now trying to keep mum about it 

The new minister can do a few things to develop Galle .

Fast track expansion of Galle Marina project with state of the art facilities to attract tourists 

Remove the scrap barge and cement bagging plant next to the pier ( again allowed by a minister which is an eyesore)

Restart the yacht repair yard

Establish a tourist office to help the yacht owners 

Allow the private sector to develop social entertainment in Galle Harbour or in vicinity especially in Galle Port 

Simplify custom and Security Procedures and allow free movement of tourists to Galke Port to spend  the day 

Dr. Sarath Obeysekera 

One Response to “Nautical tourists are badly treated in Galle”

  1. aloy Says:

    We have been a seafaring nation as is written in Mahawansa. So, shipbuilding and repair is like duck to water as they are in our genes. I myself designed a Naval facility to take out OPVs from sea mount them on trollies, move to shipsheds,dismantle their engines, guns etc. Have visited such facilities in Malaysia also, but cannot give any details.

    Ship repair is something our government/private sector can easily do at Humbanthota. But how can we do anything there when they have sold the whole area to foreigners?.

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