by Work the World

Wanderlust have released an article that highlights the concern in Sri Lanka over the development of Kalpitiya.

Tourism has raised it's ugly head again and the endless drive to develop hotels and theme parks is threatening local communities, habitats and wildlife.

Kalpitiya is a peninsula on the west coast of Sri Lanka and a popular destination for travellers. Sri Lankan and international campaigning groups, including Tourism Concern and the Sri Lanka Campaign for Peace and Justice, have called for an immediate halt to the development, claiming that it will, “destroy livelihoods, threaten food security, and wreak havoc on the environment.”

Tourism Concern claim that 1,000 fishing families, as well as farmers, small tourism businesses and traders have not been properly consulted about the tourism project, the largest in Sri Lanka to date, and that their land is vulnerable to land grabs due to a lack of title deeds.

The project is being supported by the World Bank as part of a four year ‘Sustainable Tourism Development Project’ signed with Sri Lanka in November 2010.

“Obviously the legal rights of local people have to be respected. But it is inevitable that the present government will push ahead with ambitious plans for tourism development as part of a plan to reduce unemployment and improve the economic welfare of people.”

Despite the development's website stating that Kalpitiya “is a marine sanctuary with a diversity of habitats ranging from bar reefs, flat coastal plains, saltpans, mangroves swamps, salt marshes and vast sand dune beaches,” they also state that the following investment opportunities will be available: theme parks, cable car tours, high speed boat safaris, a golf course and an underwater amusement park.

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