COLOMBO, July 12 (Xinhua) -- The Sri Lankan government is planning to construct a third international airport in Trincomalee, in the eastern region of the island country in a bid to make the Trincomalee District the 'Eastern Gateway into the Bay of Bengal', local media reported Thursday.
Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, while unveiling the master plan to develop the Trincomalee district prepared by the Western Development and Megapolis Ministry said, the government also plans to construct an international cricket stadium to keep in line with the vision to develop Sri Lanka into a commercial and tourism hub in the Indian Ocean.
"When you look back at Sri Lanka's history, we were a hub in the Indian Ocean where there were several ports," Wickremesinghe said.
"Countries in the Bay of Bengal region will fast develop within the next 20 years. By 201000 the population in this region is expected to reach 3 billion. Therefore, we have to consider Trincomalee as the Eastern Gateway," he said, adding that Jaffna and the former war torn northern province were next in line to see major development plans.
Under the master plan, Trincomalee would be converted into an export hub by creating a clean industrial ecosystem, which can add value to the already abundant agriculture, aquaculture, minerals and resources in its hinterland.
Trincomalee would also be re-positioned as the Eastern Tourism Hub, by increasing regional connectivity through the development of the Colombo-Trincomalee economic corridor and the establishment of an international airport in Hingurakgoda.
The region will also be converted into an eastern logistics centre through the economic opportunities gained as a result of the many Free Trade Agreements Sri Lanka has entered into with South and South East Asian nations, as well from maritime traffic in the Bay of Bengal and the Indian Ocean.
The prime minister said the entire Trincomalee project is to be completed by 201000.