The National Botanical Gardens Department (NBGD), recently announced that they were making arrangements to establish more botanical gardens in several parts of the country by the end of 2016.
Accordingly, plans have already been drawn to establish six new botanical gardens in Sri Lanka. new botanical gardens are to be opened at various places which have been identified as zones with the highest bio diversity, including Horton Plains. Sinharaja Forest, Nuwara Eliya, Ambangamuwa, Sri Pada and Knuckles Range.
The ‘Seethawaka Wet Zone,’ a new botanical garden of the country, will be opened during the current year at Awissawella on a land consisting of 105 acres, to conserve the threatened Wet Zone flora just after its completion and it would be the fifth botanical garden in Sri Lanka.
Dr Wijesundera said that 81 acres have been developed under Phase I of this botanical garden project and it would be expanded up to105 acres in the near future. He jointed out that the revenue earned by the NBGD during the last year through foreign visitors, have recorded over a 17.2percent increase, compared to 2013.
Nearly 345,470 foreign visitors have visited the four botanical gardens that presently exist last year and in 2013, while the number of foreign visitors amounted to 293,454.
The income incurred last year was over Rs. 4.46 million, while Rs. 3.7 million out of the total income was acquired from the sale of tickets issued to foreigners, the Director General added.
Arrangements are in place to upgrade the newly opened Mirijjawila Botanical Garden with the aim of attracting both local and foreign visitors, as it was found to be attracting a low amount of visitors compared to the three other botanical gardens located in Hakgala, Peradeniya and Henarathgoda in Gampaha.
The Mirijjawila Botanical Gardens was opened after the completion of the first phase and plans are underway to complete the other phases to attract more visitors.