COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (June 16, 2015)—Travelers seeking unspoiled places and culturally authentic experiences for the Eastern Province of Sri Lanka now have a valuable new resource in a comprehensive online Geotourism MapGuide of the region. The project seeks to improve the contribution of tourism to local economic growth by promoting geotourism.
The “Eastern Sri Lanka” Geotourism MapGuide website is one of only 22 National Geographic Geotourism programs worldwide. It highlights the unique landscapes, people and culture of the East of Sri Lanka. The MapGuide focuses on Trincomalee, Pasikuda, Batticaloa, Arugam Bay and Ampara.
“The MapGuide presents a great opportunity for all stakeholders to work together to promote the region and its unique highlights,” said the Honourable Naveen Dissanayake, Sri Lanka’s minister of tourism. “Aside from providing a long-term resource to promote the attractions of the Eastern Province, the project will help boost tourism and support local economic growth.”
A community-based nomination process was used to create the MapGuide. Local residents and visitors were able to nominate any landmarks, attractions, activities, events and even local foods that define the region’s character and distinctive appeal. All sites and attractions that are featured on the website will also receive a certificate of participation from the National Geographic Society.
“The Eastern Province Geotourism website showcases what makes the region so culturally and geographically significant,” said James Dion, director of tourism programs, National Geographic Maps Division. “More than ever, this project underscores the importance of connecting local communities, smartly sharing the region’s tremendous assets and helping the communities thrive together for future generations.”
The MapGuide can be viewed at www.easternsrilanka.com, and the site will continue to evolve. Tourists and residents can continue to nominate new locations, events and special places to be featured on the site.
The MapGuide website will be managed by Findmyfare.com, Sri Lanka’s first online travel company, under the guidance of a council comprising representatives from the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority, Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau and other private-sector tourism players.
“The Geotourism project will strengthen the case for responsible tourism by embracing tourism assets that are distinctive to the locale,” said Adam Sack, International Finance Corporation (IFC) country manager for Sri Lanka and Maldives. “Effective stewardship of these assets will bring in the investments needed to preserve Sri Lanka’s unique heritage.”
Implemented by the National Geographic Maps Division, in partnership with the IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, the MapGuide and Geotourism website were produced with the financial support of the European Union’s Support to District Development Programme (EU-SDDP) and the Royal Government of Norway. Instrumental support was also received from the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority and from Findmyfare.com.
About National Geographic Maps
Founded in 1915 as the Map Department of the National Geographic Society, National Geographic Maps is responsible for illustrating the world around us through the art and science of mapmaking. Today, National Geographic Maps continues this mission by creating the world’s best wall maps, outdoor recreation maps, travel maps, atlases and globes that inspire people to care about and explore their world. For more information, visit natgeomaps.com.
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is the largest global development institution focused exclusively on the private sector. Working with private enterprises in about 100 countries, we use our capital, expertise, and influence to help eliminate extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity. In FY14, we provided more than $22 billion in financing to improve lives in developing countries and tackle the most urgent challenges of development. For more information, visit www.ifc.org.