The tourism industry was in a state of shock on Tuesday morning when the fresh appointments to the boards at Sri Lanka Tourism were called off at the eleventh hour.
Most were left confused as to the reasons for the last minute postponement of the appointment of Kishu Gomes as the Chairman of the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB), Ranjith De Silva as the Chairman of the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) and that of Dilip De Silva as the Chairman of the Sri Lanka Tourism Institute of Hotel Management (SLITHM).
Tourism Minister John Amaratunga was to hand over the letters of appointment this morning at a function organized at the SLITHM Auditorium but was called off at the last minute even as journalists had already arrived.
Tourist Hotels Association of Sri Lanka (THASL) President Sanath Ukwatte noted that the tourism industry is going through a “very challenging” period with a number of promotions to be carried out vital for the industry’s growth particularly with the much-awaited launch of the global promotion campaign.
He explained that under the current circumstances most industry representatives on the board of the SLTPB believe that the present Chairman of the bureau Janaka Sugathadasa needs to continue in a bid to ensure that the campaign could get underway in time at least in part at the ITB travel fair in Berlin in March this year.
With just one month to go for the kick off the campaign, the industry opines Mr. Sugathadasa is the ideal candidate for the job as he is aware of the government procurement procedures and the functioning of the boards is crucial to obtain approvals for funding.
In fact, industry persons point out that since the government is unable to agree on one person and due to the current tug of war going on in a bid to retain stability in the industry the present boards should continue. (Sunimalee)
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