EDB Boat and Ship Building Advisory Committee emphasized the importance of developing a strategy for the nautical tourism industry in Sri Lanka as the country has a massive potential for nautical tourism considering the high marine diversity as well as the strategic location of the country during the 7th meeting of the Advisory Committee, which was held on 26th May.
“Foreign yachts could come to the Sri Lankan waters and anchor and spend few days in the country, as we have attractive onshore activities such as whale/dolphin watching, scuba diving, leisure fishing, snorkelling, windsurfing, kite surfing together with many more activities around the country throughout the year. Therefore, the development of the nautical tourism would provide the opportunities to showcase the capabilities of local boat builders and would allow country to earn foreign exchange earnings, which is the need of the hour”, the Advisory Committee members pointed out.
The other major points discussed at the meeting were the development of marina infrastructure, reforming the National Export Strategy (NES), organizing the upcoming Sri Lanka Boat show in October 2023, the implementation of the activities recommended under the EDB action Plan, etc. Organising the Sri Lanka Boat Show - which commenced in 2008 and held once every two years - is one of the main activities which is undertaken to promote the industry. It provides a forum for the industry to display and promote their products to potential clients whilst creating investment opportunities in boat and ship building, training, marine infrastructure and marine tourism.
Furthermore, the committee also emphasized the significance of developing infrastructure facilities for the boat building industry which is one of the pre requisites for the development and promotion of the sector and reviewed the progress of the ongoing projects of establishing breakwater at Kapparathota and establishing launching pads at Beruwela, Negombo and Welipatanwila. The progress of the implementation of regulatory framework developed by the EDB in association with the relevant stakeholders as well as the necessary initiatives to speed up the implementation process were also discussed by the Committee.
Speaking at the occasion, EDB Chairman Dr. Kingsley Bernard stated that the private and public sector involvement in Advisory Committees is expected to provide an environment to formulate mutually acceptable proposals, thereby enabling their efficient implementation. In this context, he added that the members of the Advisory Committee on Boat and Ship Building are providing continuous support on evolving strategies to develop the sector. He also expressed his gratitude to the members of the Advisory Committee for their contribution in developing strategies for the Boat and Ship Building sector. Advisory Committee – Chairman Mr.Gamini B Herath appreciated the EDB’s cooperation in carrying out initiatives such as the National Export Strategy, Biennial Boat Show, international promotional activities, etc. during the meeting.
Export Development Act, No. 40 of 1979 is empowered to establish Advisory Committees towards the development and promotion of products and services as well as on functional aspects of export trade. Accordingly, the Advisory Committee on Boat and Ship Building was established consisting 18 members from the private sector industry representatives and the relevant public sector officers representing the Government line agencies that include Sri Lanka Chamber of Marine Industries, the Ministry of Industries, Ministry of Fisheries, BOI, Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority, Merchant Shipping Secretariat, SL Navy, Sri Lanka Ports Authority, etc. The Advisory Committees are expected to identify key market challenges and opportunities facing the industry, set goals to strengthen sector competitiveness, identify market requirements, as well as propose key policy changes that need to be initiated to develop the export sector while playing a significant role in reviewing the relevant product or service sector. The Boat and Ship building industry has been identified as a future visionary sector, which could contribute significantly to raise the level of overall export performance of the country.