One of the first major initiatives of the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority, then known as the Ceylon Tourist Board, upon its formulation in 1968 was to plan and develop a National Holiday Resort in Bentota.
The Holiday Resort, which was officially opened on December 19th, 1969 by J.R. Jayewardene, Minister of State, was identified in the first 10-Year Tourism Master Plan as a means to stimulate and motivate private sector investment in tourism.
To commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Resort, the SLTDA held a grand ceremony from the 18th-20th of December.
The three-day event included exhibitions of wild-life photographs, traditional handi-crafts, local cuisine, and flora and fauna; competitions in art, cycling, kite flying etc.; and, the opening of the Fishing Village and launching of local tourism initiatives such as signage development, life saving demonstrations, wind surfing and jet skiing, and tree planting.