Business Times

Cabinet sub-committee appointed to bring tourism stakeholders together

By Sunimalee Dias

The government has appointed a Cabinet sub- committee with the aim of bringing all stakeholders of the tourism industry under one umbrella in a bid to conduct promotional activities. This will ensure that all stakeholders will work together under the 5-year strategy development by the Economic Development Ministry and whose finances will be utilised to conduct only promotional activities jointly for tourism, Sri Lanka Tourism Chairman Dr. Nalaka Godahewa said.

He noted that this was initiated since the tourism industry in itself lacks the necessary funding for the conduct of its promotional activities. In this regard, the pooling of all funding from the various industries of tea, airport and aviation, export development among others will be used for carrying out promotional campaigns jointly to promote Sri Lanka as a destination, he said.

“Through this they will be able to pool in a lot of money,” Dr. Godahewa said adding that today this funding is scattered but in the future this kind of promotional activities will take place together.
The tourism industry’s long-awaited strategy was launched recently. While the government continued to focus on product development and having less interest in promoting the country as a destination the industry feels it is in dire need of a proper drive to boost tourism.

In this regard, the industry was able to gain interest within the government to promote the destination but now due to lack of funding they are to join hands with other state agencies. This will ensure that all other related sectors will be working together to jointly promote the country under the Sri Lanka Tourism banner for which funding will be allocated through those institutions that generate a higher revenues.

Promotional campaigns were previously carried out but since the war ended in 2009 there has not been any new campaign set out except for the changing of logos and taglines. However, this seems to have little impact on the travellers to the countries, and in this context a a bigger and louder campaign is required to boost industry growth.

The government is reportedly looking at attracting more than US$3 billion in Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) with an additional 22, 500 rooms required. The strategic plan indicates private sector contribution to amount to more than US$ 500 billion by 2020 while the public sector would invest close to US$ 20 million.

The government is also aiming at attracting high-spending tourists, diversifying from the current market to achieve US$ 2.75 billion in earnings and creating more than 500,000 direct and indirect employment opportunities.

The government expects to attract more than four million tourists by 2020 with an expected annual income of US$ 8 billion.

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