A high-powered meeting chaired by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe recently discussed moves to declare Ella as a tourist zone to better regulate related activities.
“Service providers in the Ella area have been pushing for licences to operate. We have already done the preliminary assessments to streamline unregistered facilities in the thriving tourism hotspot in Ella,” Digital Infrastructure and Foreign Employment Minister Harin Fernando told the Daily FT.
The meeting was attended by, SLTDA Director General Upali Rathnayake, Ella Pradeshiya Saba Chairman and other stakeholders.
Rathnayake assured that the SLTDA expected the relevant gazette notification designating Ella as a tourist zone to be released in the next two months.
Faced with harassment by different players in the industry, unregisters operators in the area has highlighted the need for proper regulation.
Fernando, who represents the Badulla District, expressed an urgent need for regulation through the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) to prevent any unfortunate incidents similar to what happened in Mirissa.
“There is a possibility that a similar incident similar to that of Mirissa may happen in Ella. We are trying to structure all these aspects to prevent anything of such nature from happening in the future,” Fernando said.
As both local and foreign tourists flock to Ella, giving rise to a lot of home-based service providers, incidents of mugging and harassment have been reported.