World Heritage status sought for Ritigala | Daily News

World Heritage status sought for Ritigala

The Central Cultural Fund (CCF) has taken initiatives to name Ritigala as a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Central Cultural Fund Director General Gamini Ranasinghe said that documentation is underway to name Ritigala as a World Heritage site, and it will take around two years for the whole process to be completed.

Addressing the media at the Government Information Department, he said that Ritigala comes across between the two World Heritage sites, Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa, adding extra value to naming Ritigala as a World Heritage site. He further said that as Ritigala is a Strict Nature Reserve, it also contributes to the fact that Ritigala can be called a world Heritage Site.

Moreover, he added that Ritigala is currently open for tourists but with certain restrictions, such as having limited entrances and limited access areas.

Furthermore, he said that the Buduruwagala statue complex, which consists of seven statues, will be opened to tourists. Accordingly, a boat ride of 1 Km will be introduced to visit the Buduruwagala statue complex via the Buduruwagala Tank. The current boat service is capable of transporting 18 passengers at a time.

Prof. Kapila Gunawardena, Secretary to the Ministry of Religious and Cultural Affairs, also addressing the media, said the CCF has taken steps to initiate dive tourism in South and East seas. Accordingly, locally and internationally trained officers are employed in the industry. He also added that not only foreign tourists but local tourists will also be welcomed to the diving spots. He added that wrecked ships and corals, and many more sea organisms can be observed through diving.

“Before the Easter Sunday Attacks, the income of the CCF was Rs.10 Million to Rs.22 million per day. So, along with the Easter Sunday Attack and the pandemic, the CCF is facing drastic losses. Yet as the lockdown will be lifted shortly, the CCF has taken measures to revive the tourism industry,” he added.

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