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EU Delegation funds project to strengthen wellness tourism capacity here

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Supporting the speedy revival of the tourism industry in Sri Lanka, the European Union (EU) Delegation to Sri Lanka, has allocated funds to help strengthen the local wellness tourism capacity to transform the country into an attractive destination.

This will be carried out under the guidance of Sri Lanka Tourism. The resulting ‘Sri Lanka Wellness Tourism Stakeholder Project’ was officially launched on 15 February 2022, the Sri Lanka Tourism development Authority said.

The launch involved key stakeholders of the project where details of the project have been shared, followed by a group discussion on wellness tourism capacity development.

A follow up meeting will be held on the 25th of February to share findings and recommendations from all stakeholder meetings, site meetings and discussions with wellness tourism resorts, hotels and training providers.

A presentation of the findings determined through surveys carried out amongst wellness tourism organisations and training providers will also be presented this month.

The EU Delegation has contracted IBF International Consulting to undertake a technical assistance assignment to develop short term course curricula for Ayurveda therapists and wellness facility management in Sri Lanka in order to provide an authentic experience to tourists to grow the wellness tourism component for the country.

Chairperson of Sri Lanka Tourism, Kimarli Fernando commented, “Wellness and nature are high on the priority list for travellers at present and Sri Lanka has much to offer on both counts. Considering the lush greenery, nature, Ayurveda, yoga, spirituality and culture in Sri Lanka, it is one of the top wellness destinations in the world and we are grateful to the EU Delegation in Sri Lanka for recognising and investing in building further capacity for the country to promote this niche tourism. This partnership will help strengthen Sri Lanka’s wellness tourism product.”

The project will also consist of a ‘train the trainer’ and a supervised pilot roll-out course. Paul Penfold (Project Team Leader) will be in Sri Lanka for a two-week mission to meet stakeholders and assess needs together with Dr. Pushpika Attanayake (National Expert) from 14 – 26 February.

Paul Penfold, MEd, is an experienced development consultant specialising in tourism strategy, HRD, educational technology, curriculum development, program design and quality management. He has lived and worked in Asia (including Sri Lanka) for more than 25 years and has also taught hospitality/tourism in universities in Hong Kong, Myanmar, China and Vietnam.

Dr. Pushpika Attanayake is an Ayurveda consultant, researcher, and a wellness expert with over 15 years of experience in Sri Lanka and overseas. Her areas of expertise extend to yoga, naturopathy, and counselling. She is a visiting lecturer in Ayurveda and Wellness Tourism at the University of Colombo, and has worked as an Ayurvedic Consultant/Spa Manager for leading hotels, including the Fortress Resort and Spa and Anantara Kalutara Resort, as well as the Royal Ayurveda, in Dubai Healthcare City. She has also served a stint at the Sri Lanka Ayurvedic Drug Corporation.

With the wellness traveller generating at least five times more earnings than the standard tourist, Sri Lanka Tourism is strategically working with key stakeholders to position the destination to cater to the demands of this high yielding segment. With the assistance of external experts, the Authorities are focusing on product and infrastructure development, training and guidance to the SME sector and the larger industry, targeted marketing and promoting investor opportunities.



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BASL urges President to de-escalate tensions in different parts of country

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The Bar Association of Sri Lanka has called upon President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to instruct the Defence Secretary, the Commanders of the Tri Forces and the Inspector General of Police to ensure that there is an immediate de-escalation of tensions in different parts of the country – especially at fuel stations – understanding the difficulties faced by the public.”

 “Whilst keeping in mind that the police and armed forces are acting under very trying circumstances, nevertheless it is necessary to give strict instructions to the police and the forces to desist from violence in dealing with the public and to act with utmost restraint”, the BASL has said in a media statement.

 “We also call upon you to ensure that steps are taken under the law to deal with errant officers who have subjected civilians to such violence.”

The BASL is of the view that it is not appropriate for service personnel to be deployed in the present manner in matters which essentially should be managed by the Sri Lanka Police.

 The armed forces should also not be used to disturb or hinder peaceful protests as was seen last week in Galle.

Full text of the BASL letter to the President:

The Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) expresses its gravest concerns at the current situation at fuel stations throughout the country and the reports of several incidents of conflicts between civilians and members of the police force and the armed forces at fuel stations. There has been video footage of civilians being assaulted by personnel of the armed forces and the police, the latest being of a civilian being kicked by an Army officer at a fuel station. There have also been situations of the police and Army opening fire into the air to contain the crowd.

Your Excellency is no doubt aware that thousands of desperate civilians are waiting in queues at hundreds of fuel stations in the country. The queues are kilometres long. The tension at the fuel stations have arisen from this desperation for which there is no immediate solution in sight.

The BASL wishes to warn Your Excellency of the imminent dangers this situation could give rise to. The present unrest could result in a conflagration between civilians and members of the armed forces or the police. Some years ago, confrontations between members of the public and the armed forces resulted in the deaths of civilians. Such incidents between the members of the armed forces or the police and the civilians will discredit Sri Lanka’s armed forces and the police.

We call upon Your Excellency to take all necessary steps to give instructions to the Defence Secretary, the Commanders of the Tri Forces and the Inspector General of Police to ensure that there is an immediate de-escalation of the situation in different parts of the country – especially at fuel stations – understanding the difficulties faced by public. Whilst keeping in mind that the police and armed forces are acting under very trying circumstances, nevertheless it is necessary to give strict instructions to the police and the forces to desist from violence in dealing with the public and to act with utmost restraint. We also call upon you to ensure that steps be taken under the law to deal with errant officers who have subjected civilians to such violence.

The Sri Lanka Army and other service personnel must be deployed only in very limited circumstances as contemplated in the Criminal Procedure Code. The BASL is of the view that it is not appropriate for service personnel to be deployed in the present manner in matters which essentially should be managed by the Sri Lanka Police. The Armed Forces should also not be used to disturb or hinder peaceful protests as was seen last week in Galle.

We trust that this will receive the immediate attention of the Government as to do otherwise may otherwise result in unprecedented turmoil and harm.

The BASL believes that the ultimate solution to the situation at fuel stations is to be transparent with the public and to ensure an equitable and effective system of fuel distribution throughout the country.

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SC orders AG to submit report on fuel purchases and distribution

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By A.J.A. Abeynayake

A three-member Supreme Court bench consisting of Justices Vijith Malalgoda, Mahinda Samayawardena and Arjuna Obeysekera yesterday ordered the Attorney General to submit a report on fuel purchases, the distribution thereof and the sectors to be provided with fuel on a priority basis.

The Supreme Court made the order after considering two fundamental rights petitions presented by the Bar Association of Sri Lanka.

The BASL has requested the Supreme Court to direct the Cabinet of Ministers to consult all stakeholders and independent experts to formulate and implement the necessary policies, and to provide concessions in relation to the prices of essential goods and services to the people including LP gas, fuel, electricity, milk powder, medicines and food.

The petitions were filed by the President of the BASL Saliya Pieris PC, Deputy President Anura Meddegoda PC, former Secretary Rajeev Amarasuriya, Treasurer Rajindh Perera and the Assistant Secretary Pasindu Silva.

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A/L may be delayed by one month

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Education Minister Sushil Premajayantha told Parliament yesterday that although it had been scheduled to hold the G.C.E. A/L Examination 2022 in November this year, it could be further delayed by another month.

Responding to a question by MP Shantha Bandara, the Minister said: “The examination should be held at least after three months of releasing the results of the previous A/L exam because the students who need to sit it again should have enough time to prepare,” the Minister said.

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