Uncertainty in tourism industry

Uncertainty at the Tourism Ministry and its institutions continued this week with Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau Chairman Bernard Goonetilleke being refused travel permission by the Ministry to participate in a PATA board meeting in China next week, industry sources said.

Mr. Goonetilleke was unavailable for comment. PATA, the premier tourism body in Asia and the Pacific, is holding its board of management meeting in which Sri Lanka is a member. The sources said Tourism Minister Nandana Gunatillake had gone abroad to Japan to attend a travel fair there.

The sources said the new minister is yet to meet the industry which is worried over attempts to reduce budgets on promotional activity at a time when the Sri Lankan brand needs to be positioned across the world. They said Minister Gunatillake had also through advertisements called for submissions on a new tagline to the brand to replace ‘Small Miracle’ but without any scientific basis being listed out.

“Brands all over the world are developed through a scientific process…not just asking the public to give a name. Furthermore the minister has said publicly that one need not spend money on creating a brand. However the advertisement calling for submissions alone cost more than Rs 800,000,”one source said.

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