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From left: Director, Findmyfair.com, Thushan Shanmugarajah, Country Director, IFC, Adam Sack, Paddy Withana, David Daly, and National Geographic Maps Division Director Tourism James Dion at the launch of the Eastern Province Geotourism Mapguide | Pic by Ravindra Dharmathilake

The International Finance Corporation (IFC), which launched the Geotourism Mapguide for the Eastern Province last week, said it was looking at possibilities of expanding the concept to other parts of Sri Lanka as well.

The IFC, along with National Geographic and the European Union (EU) launched the Geotourism Mapguide for the Eastern Province of Sri Lanka on June 16.

A spokesperson attached to the IFC in Sri Lanka told The Nation Gain that while it had received requests to expand the concept to other parts of the country, the IFC would have to study the requirements and plan out methodologies on how to go ahead with it.

“We (IFC) have not planned anything at the moment. We have received requests to expand the concept to other parts of the country and we are certainly interested in doing so,” the spokesperson said.

Chairman Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA), Paddy Vithana, while welcoming the move, pointed out the importance of sustainability of the program. In addition, he also stated that need for local participation where residents and entrepreneurs are also benefited through such endeavors.

The concept of geotourism would allow the tourists to experience the authentic features of a region, ranging from its cuisines to cultural festivities. In addition it also looks at empowering entrepreneurs.

The Mapguide which can be viewed at www.easternsrilanka.natgeotourism.com would allow tourists and local residents to nominate new locations and events that need to be featured.

Meanwhile, Ambassador of the EU, David Daly stated that it had allocated Euro 60 million for the development of the region through involving the local community.
(AW)