The World Tourism Organisation says Sri Lanka could have minimized tsunami damage along its coast, if it had followed years’ old WTO building guidelines

The World Tourism Organisation says Sri Lanka could have minimized tsunami damage along its coast, if it had followed years’ old WTO building guidelines. The World Tourism Organisation says Sri Lanka could have minimized tsunami damage along its coast, if it had followed years’ old WTO building guidelines. The WTO had completed a Tourism Infrastructure Study for Sri Lanka years ago, which laid out a buffer zone or a ‘green belt’ and planned construction along the South West coast.

“Technically speaking, the recipe is there and the recommendations are valid today. The challenge now is to merge that with needs on the ground,” visiting WTO Regional Representative Xu Jing says.

Though technical assistance has been asked for and will be given, Jing says that the WTO does not mandate countries to follow what it recommends.

The Sri Lankan tourism industry is now grappling with new regulations for a 100 m buffer zone from the high tide mark, with no new construction allowed within this.

The move has sparked controversy, with the industry arguing that beach tourism cannot be moved inland, and hotels should, selectively, be allowed to build on