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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2736

Tourist Development Authority Initiates Anti rabies Campaign in the Bentota Resort Area

Colombo, 17 February, ( For the first time in the history of tourism, Sri Lanka Tourism initiated an anti rabies campaign organized by the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA). In the first event in this series, vaccination of dogs took place in the Bentota resort area, on 23 January 2009.

Bentota is the first tourist resort in the country, to be set up in the early 1970s and today has 6 SLTDA approved hotels with approx. 600 rooms, to its credit. On an average day, atleast 500 tourists can be found in the area. Stray dogsStray dogs

During the recent past, it was noticed that there were a substantial number of stray dogs at the beach and surrounding area, and the Community Relations Division of the SLTDA initiated a project to vaccinate them. This project was discussed with the community residing in the area and subsequently with the Ministry of Health, and was carried out with the fullest cooperation of all parties involved.

Initial awareness was created about the activity in the locality, from around 3 days leading up to the event, and on 23 January 2009, from 8 am to 5 pm, the programme was carried out in the Bentota resort area.

Three doctors and their assistants from the Ministry of Health overlooked the vaccination process and 51 dogs were vaccinated while 21 dogs were sterilized.

Commenting on this innovative project, P U Rathnayake, Director Domestic Tourism and Community Relations of SLTDA said, "It is the support of the community that enabled us to make a success of this project. They not only brought the dogs to the site, but also assisted the medical team in vaccinating and other support activities."

He further stated that measures should be taken to solve the garbage problem, and activities such as visitors feeding the dogs that encourage the growth of the stray dogs population, should be addressed, in finding a lasting solution to this problem.

Chairman of SLTDA and SLTPB, Bernard Goonetilleke said, “This campaign builds on the values of not harming dogs, but treating them in a humane manner.

We hope to implement this programme in many areas countrywide, and measures have been taken to hold similar clinics in Hikkaduwa, Unawatuna, and Mt. Lavinia, in the initial stage, as beach tourism is a key segment of attraction, in Sri Lanka.

- Asian Tribune -

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