John wants to use Mattala  to develop tourism

 Tourism Development and Christian Affairs Minister John Amaratunga has given an undertaking to develop tourism with the help of the Mattala Airport.

The Minister, addressing a press conference at the Auditorium of the Tourist Board, said that a massive programme would be implemented to develop the tourism industry as the foremost foreign exchange earner. At present it ranks second.

A special feature of the occasion was the participation of Fancisco Jos, who is the owner of most of the tourist hotels in the world.

 "More and more tourists are keen to visit Sri Lanka. It is certain that the tourism industry will be transformed as the foremost income earner to this country in due course. If the Bandaranaike International Airport is not adequate for this purpose we will develop the Mattala Airport which has been abandoned."

Amaratunga said he was glad to have Francisco Jos at the discussion. "He the proud owner of the most number of hotels in the world. He owns 120 large scale hotels around the world."

Harry Jayawardana, the owner of the Aitken Spence Group, said that a large scale hotel complex with 500 rooms was being constructed at Ahungalla. As many foreign tourists arrived in the country it would help earn valuable foreign exchange. The unemployment issue of the youth would be resolved. Tourism industry was certain to be developed under the guidance of Minister Amaratunga.

Jayawardana also commended the action being taken to develop the tourism industry.

 Francisco Jos said Sri Lanka was the most attractive country. There was a peaceful environment prevailing there. It would be easy to promote tourism in a trouble free environment. "We hope to construct big hotels islandwide in addition to the hotel complex being constructed in Ahungalla at present", Jos added.

Chairman of the tourist Board, Paddy Vitharna was also present.

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