Nova Scotians will have more opportunities for recreation and economic development thanks to an investment in land purchases. As part of the capital plan, the province is increasing its Crown land base. Lands purchased will be used to increase coastal access, protect Mi’kmaq values, enhance wildlife conservation, and help the province meet its 12 per cent land protection goal. The $6.3 million dollar investment, which includes $800 thousand from the Forestry Transition Land Acquisition Program, is included in the 2013-14 fiscal year. “It’s good sense to make purchases that increase our Crown land base, and that are valuable for their resources and outdoor recreation opportunities,” said Natural Resources Minister Charlie Parker. “Although the size of Nova Scotia cannot be changed, we can change the amount of land that is owned by the province and ensure that it works to enhance our economy and the environment.” About 30 per cent of the province’s land base is provincial Crown land and protected areas. “Nova Scotians value the province’s wilderness areas and want to ensure that these areas are protected for the enjoyment of people now, and generations to come,” said Environment Minister Sterling Belliveau. “This investment will help to do just that.” “This is an important investment in conservation,” said Chris Miller, national conservation biologist, Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society. “Some of the most ecologically-significant ecosystems in Nova Scotia occur on private land, including old-growth forest and species-at-risk habitat, so allocating resources to acquire these properties is an important step to make and will help protect biodiversity in this province.” This is the third straight year the province will release the capital plan before the spring budget. This sends a clear signal of what the province intends to do in the year ahead, and gives the private sector greater opportunity to prepare for projects, creating efficiencies and cost savings for the province.
He said that while efforts taken to boost tourism have shows results, the authorities cannot be complacent. The Prime Minister said that more remains to be done in the tourism sector. Despite the ‘Lonely Planet’ recognition of Sri Lanka as the best country in the world to visit in 2019, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe today admitted that there are shortcomings which must be addressed.The Prime Minister said in a statement that since 2015, tourism was the top priority of the Government. Almost 10 years after the end of its civil war, Sri Lanka was named the best country in the world to visit in 2019 by Lonely Planet. Better transport links, new hotels and a growing number of activities were cited as the reason the south-Asian island was chosen for the top spot in the guidebook publisher ’s annual Best in Travel awards, the Guardian reported yesterday.“Already notable to intrepid travellers for its mix of religions and cultures, its timeless temples, its rich and accessible wildlife, its growing surf scene and its people who defy all odds by their welcome and friendliness after decades of civil conflict, this is a country revived,” says Lonely Planet author Ethan Gelber in the Best in Travel 2019 book, published yesterday. Tourist visits to Sri Lanka have increased dramatically since the end of the 26-year conflict, from 447,890 in 2009 to an all time high of 2.1 million last year, a figure the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority hopes to double by 2020.Renovations made to the rail system have opened up Jaffna and much of north for the first time since 1990 – an area that was previously considered too dangerous for tourists. The scenic rail routes in Sri Lanka are now widely thought to be some of the best in the world.Motorways have also been built as far south as Matara, and the number of domestic flight routes has increased in recent years, too: for instance, from the capital Colombo, on the west coast, to Batticaloa, on the opposite side of the island, in 45 minutes. (Colombo Gazette)