Jan 04, Colombo: Sri Lanka's Minister of Ports, Shipping and Southern Development Sagala Ratnayake has taken steps to sort out the issues concerning the whale watching operations in the South.
Minister Ratnayake recently held a special discussion at his Ministry to review the whale watching operations and resolve the issues prevailing in the industry.
The discussions focused on taking the necessary initiatives to prepare a formal strategy identifying the weaknesses in boat services transporting local and foreign tourists for whale watching.
The Minister stressing the importance of conducting the operations without causing hindrance to the whales emphasized that the whale watching should be utilized to strengthen the economy.
The Minister proposed the awarding of standards certificates to boat owners. Another proposal made was to implement a program for the granting of loan facilities to boat owners.
The number of foreign tourists arriving in Mirissa in the Matara district for whale watching has risen sharply with the beginning of the tourist season. According to reports, nearly 2000 tourists arrive at Mirissa daily to view whales and there is a growing demand for whale watching vessels.