COLOMBO, July 4 (Xinhua) -- After 135 years Sri Lanka is to open dry zone botanical garden at economically booming southern port district Hambantota, an official said on Wednesday.
D.S.A. Wijesundara, the director general of the Department of National Botanic Gardens told Xinhua that country's first dry-zone botanical garden is aimed to promote ecotourism in the area which has seen economical boom with new harbor, airport and world renowned hotels.
Sri Lanka built its last botanical garden in western province in 1876 when it was under the British colony.
"We have aimed to open the garden built on 300 acres land before the end of this year," Wijesundara said.
He said the garden built at a cost of 3.7 million U.S. dollars will promote flora and foliage plants that suit the weather condition in the area.
The garden also aimed to preserve a large number of herbal plants, endangered plants, and plants endemic to Sri Lanka's dry zone.
According to studies, 95 percent of the vegetation in the dry zone which covers almost one third of Sri Lankan forest ecosystem has been lost over the last 20 year.
Hambantota is to see a number large scale economic boosts with newly built harbor and airport which is under construction. The areas is to be promoted as a major tourist hub in the country with Shangri-La hotel resort to be built by 2014.
Hambantota has been selected to hold the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in next year and Asian Youth Games 2017.