Sri Lanka starts whale watching

March 22, 2008 (LBO) – Sri Lanka is launching whale and dolphin watching tours in the island’s Western and Southern waters in an effort to exploit a growing trend in eco-tourism, officials said. The joint venture between Walkers Tours, a unit of John Keells Holdings, and state-rn Ceylon Fishery Harbours Corporation (CFHC) is part of a government and industry effort to increase the economic contribution from the island’s fisheries sector.

Micheal Elias, chief executive of Walkers Tours, said the initiative would combine the marketing strengths of the private sector operator with the resources such as the boats and crews of the CFHC.

Long Gestation

He said Walkers Tours had held talks with the government’s National Aquatic Resources Agency (NARA) to launch whale watching tours as far back as 1982 off the coast of eastern Trincomalee harbour.

The Trincomalee has a deep bay which is frequented by whales.

But ethnic violence which erupted the next year and has continued since forced them to shelve the project, Elias said at the signing of an agreement with the CFHC Thursday.

Elias said the tourism industry had been struggling with the problems created by terrori