Despite crisis Sri Lanka committed to achieve key tourism objectives

Despite the ongoing political crisis which has affected tourism in the country, Sri Lanka says it remains committed to achieve key tourism objectives.

Secretary to the Ministry of Tourism & Wild Life, S. Hettiarachchi said in a statement today that officials at the Tourism and Wild Life Ministry are committed to achieving key objectives of the Tourism Strategic Plan 2017-2020 despite the present challenges.

The statement noted that the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) hosted the sixth annual Sri Lanka Tourism Awards last week following a lapse of six years.

The award ceremony was aimed at celebrating the achievements of Sri Lanka’s Tourism industry stakeholders and recognizing contributions made by organizations as well as individuals.

Addressing the gathering at the awards ceremony, SLTDA Director General, UpaliRathnayake had stated that any industry needs continuous motivation for its enhancement and he hopes the Sri Lanka Tourism Awards 2018 would serve as a great motivation to the valuable players of the industry.

He added, “Tourism keeps increasing its valuable contribution to the country, reaching to be the second largest Foreign Exchange contributor to the economy. At a time, where Sri Lankan economy is facing a critical challenge of the devaluation of the currency, foreign exchange earnings and its increment is very important.  The main foreign exchange earning sources, first, the expats working overseas followed by the textile industry are struggling to expand yet Tourism income keeps growing parallel to the increased number of tourist arrivals. The earnings’ growth is faster than arrivals and this is one reason why we strive for up-market tourism”

Further emphasizing the importance of private sector involvement in tourism services, he said. “The Government is only a facilitator and a regulator, the majority of the contribution is from the private sector”.

He also requested everyone to gain maximum benefits from the Lonely planet recognition of Sri Lanka as the number 1 destination to visit in 2019.

Sri Lanka Tourism Awards 2018 honoured 35 best performers in the industry, under 11 award categories. The categories varied from General Awards, Tourist Restaurants, Travel and Tourism Operators, MICE Tourism, Marketing Communication, Provincial Tourism Projects, Tourism Education and Training, Main Tourist Attractions & Events and Excellence in Service Awards. (Colombo Gazette)