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41 Coastal Land Uses for Tourism in Sri Lanka: Conflicts and Planning Efforts Herath Madana Bandara 1 and Iraj Ratnayake 2 1 University of Ilorin, Nigeria. 2 Department of Tourism Management, Faculty of Management Studies, Sabaragamuwa University of Sri Lanka. [email protected] Abstract Tourism in Sri Lanka involves mainly activities in the beach area. From the inception of formal tourism, tourist product development, conservation, preservation and protection have been given a high priority through land zoning and tourism legislation. National Holiday Resorts were established mainly in coastal areas following the recommendations of the first master plan and continued the same in similar subsequent planning attempts. This paper evaluates those planning efforts and observes existing land conflicts. The planning efforts were not worked as expected and conflicts have arisen due to the lack of funding, implementation, co-operation, monitoring and evaluation. The article hypothesises that land use planning for tourism requires total co-operation of the state sector, private sector organisations and the local community. Keywords : Coastal Tourism, Conservation and Preservation, Land Zoning, National Holiday Resorts, Tourism Legislation Introduction Tourism has come to stay as a significant sector in the national economy of Sri Lanka. Overall contribution of tourism to the national economy is about 2 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). It is the sixth largest foreign exchange earner in the balance of payments in Sri Lanka (Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority, 2011). Since it has been accepted as a development option in the country, maximisation of economic benefits such as foreign exchange, employment, government revenue, etc., is given priority by the government (Samaranayake, 1998). In order to achieve this, it is needed to support tourist attractions and facilities and to attract a best possible number of tourists. Therefore, product development is considered as a major tourism development strategy (UNDP/WTO, 1993). As product development activities essentially create land use conflicts it compulsorily involves land use planning. Sri Lanka covers about 6.56 million hectares, of which 1.8 percent includes Sabaragamuwa University Journal Volume 14 Number 1; May 2015, pp 41-57 ISSN 1391-3166; eISSN 2386-2041 DOI :
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42 inland waters (Somasekaram, 1997). A rough indicator of demands on land resources can be appreciated by considering the land-man ratio. In 1871, when Sri Lanka contained only 2.4 million people, about 2.7 hectares were available per person. Today at about 17 million, land has decreased to 0.38 hectares per person (NARESA, 1991). The demand for land has brought the land-man ratio below minimum levels in Sri Lanka and led to loss of forest cover and loss of bio-diversity. By 2011, the land-man ratio has been decreased further to 0.32 hectares showing the pressure on land-use decision.
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