Posted on November 6th, 2022

By Dr Sarath Obeysekera


This proposal has been made with an action plan to develop NAUTICAL TOURISM with much emphasis on Entertainment Based facilities for tourists who will be tempted to visit Sri Lankan shores. This document is an outline of the idea, and a complete discussion is needed in person to elaborate in detail.

Already existing entertainment-based Casino Industry currently existing in the country can be further expanded with support from the government to attract tourists from China, Hongkong, Singapore, Europe and middle eastern countries.


Special Cabinet paper shall be submitted by the Minister in Charge of Investment promotion and Port city / Immigration to fast-track implementation plan.

Immediate Request for Proposal to be issued to Tour Operators to commence Operations with a view to attract Visitors for entertainment tours.


  • With the newly developed Port City and the Marina, where base of the operations can be established by accommodating Leisure Crafts and Larger Cruises which can accommodate up to 500 passengers to birth and collect tourists who may arrive from the listed countries.
  • Rather than waiting for fully fledged construction work to be completed, government should invite private investors to install prefabricated birthing area with all the infrastructure facilities required for tourists to wait on until check into cruisers are ready to travel.
  • Food and Duty-free Alcohol outlets to be established like duty free shops in the landing area for passengers to purchase before sailing.
  • Transport facilities for tourists who arrive in Sri Lanka on visas granted at arrival can be welcomed at the airport and transported via the airport highway to Port City.
  • For passengers who may want to be in the city of Colombo can be accommodated in few City hotels in the vicinity of the Port City.

Regulatory Framework and other facilities

  • Sri Lanka Tourist Board shall make their officers at arrival location to receive the visitors who come to Sri Lanka to get on board the Cruisers for sailing and arrange transport from the Airport to Port City. This could be outsourced to a private sector company.
  • Separate immigration counter to be made available for Port city visitors / entertainment.
  • Separate area at the exit of the airport to be made available for buses for picking up the passengers to be transported to Port City. Again, this could be outsourced for private company.
  • SLTDA shall market the availability of such entertainment tours using their agents and Sri Lankan Embassies abroad with emphasis that visiting Sri Lanka will help the nation to generate income to support the country during these difficult times.
  • All necessary government approvals for operating such cruises shall be provided via one stop shop under BOI.
  • Government shall establish licence structure and tax scheme to generate income for state coffers.

Market Survey for Cruisers and Operators

  • Sri Lankan companies such as Expo Lanka, Aitken Spence, Hayley’s, Ceylon Shipping Corporation and other tour agents shall be requested to carry out a market survey to invite Cruise Operators to establish their Operations in the Port City .
  • Existing Leisure Craft Operators shall also be allowed to operate from Port City Marina to receive High Net Worth visitors for short tours around the island with Destination to Trinco Sober Island for few days prior to joining the entertainment Cruises.
  • Cruises shall /may sail to Maldives and return to the port city to depart.
  • Alternatively Cruise operators can allow passengers to berth in Maldives on the way to Colombo?

Our Contribution

Having spent many years Abroad and in Sri Lanka in the Oil and Gas industry, Ship Building and management sector, I have exposure and a thorough knowledge of the spoken subjects. I have also represented similar idea on a couple of TV programs ( Derana – Aluth Parlimentuwa ) during the past few weeks.

I am happy to overlook and arrange a workable practical mechanism for the discussed subject, provided all red tapes are removed and given authority to manage without any interference from ministerial levels.

We are more than happy to visit for a meeting and discuss a way forward in this massive industry which can overwhelmed Sri Lanka with foreign income.

By Dr Sarath Obeysekera

Chairman Advisory Board for EDB to develop Marine and Offshore Industry

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