On top of this clamour to get the liquor ban lifted on this final Poya Day of the year, indications are that Tourism sector in Negombo too is now demanding a tourism promotional festival there like the one held in Hikkaduwa recently, to get the industry going again in a big way after years of struggle due to the war and the bad publicity it attracted.
But, authorities are said to be fighting shy because of the adverse publicity unfairly brought against the highly successful promotional drive in Hikkaduwa. It is, however, now quite clear that certain elements had deliberately worked to tarnish that campaign by putting on the worldwide web doctored photographs of nude and semi-nude stoned revellers from elsewhere as those that were seen in Hikkaduwa
Some employees from an NGO are already in custody for their alleged role in this tarnishing campaign. Tourism Minister Nandana Gunatillake could not be contacted in this regard. Tourism Ministry Secretary George Michael said they have yet not taken any decision on the clamour to have the liquor ban lifted on December 31. At most they might be willing to allow hotels to serve liquor where the traditional 31st night fanfare is organised. He, however, cautioned that they have yet to even begin a dialogue with the Excise Commissioner General on the matter.
As for a tourism promotional festival in Negombo, the Ministry Secretary said they wanted to hold something there before the height of the Winter tourism season, but still no date has been fixed. According to industry sources, the Ministry yet appears to be coming out of the shock caused by the “small miracle” tagline they blundered over after a magnificent victory over the most ruthless terrorist outfit in the entire world.
The Tourism Ministry has still not announced its new tagline since that blunder nor has it come out with its much touted international advertising campaign to re-launch the country’s once proud hospitality trade. Michael promised that both would be out soon. from nation.lk