Tourism is a vital economic sector for Sri Lanka, accounting for 5% of its Gross Domestic Product and directly employing 250,000 and indirectly up to 2 million persons. It is one of the worst impacted socio-economic sectors from the COVID-19 crisis.
In response, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has been working with the Ministry of Tourism and Aviation and the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA), the Government authority tasked with planning, development, regulation, and policy implementation of tourism in the country, over the past few months to revive and build a more resilient tourism Sector in Sri Lanka.
To better assess the rapidly evolving COVID-19 crisis and its crippling impact on the tourism sector, UNDP is currently facilitating the development of a roadmap towards Building a Safer and Resilient Tourism Sector in Sri Lanka: Post-COVID19. This national roadmap is being developed collaboratively by the SLTDA, UNDP other UN agencies such as the International Labour Organization and World Tourism Organization, and development partners such as World Bank, ADB, EU, USAID, Australia and other key stakeholders.
This Meeting with Development Partners convened under the theme; Putting People First: Building a more Resilient Tourism Sector in Sri Lanka which will be held on Monday, 29 June 2020 in Colombo, will discuss this Draft Roadmap further. As Sri Lanka tourism seeks to springboard from recovery to become a more agile and resilient sector, the meeting will be co-chaired by SLTDA and UNDP, and will engage key decision-makers from key ministries and development partners to discuss the current situation as well as priority directions for sustainable and innovative interventions for longer term resilience of Sri Lankan tourism.
The strategic high-level meeting, which will be the first in a series of more consultations, will aim to facilitate greater input, interest and commitment from development partners towards the development and operationalization of the roadmap whilst creating new partnerships and donor commitments for the implementation of the roadmap under the Government’s overall vision. This Roadmap is intended to catalyze the development of a framework to support the development of a new Strategic Plan and Vision for tourism 2021-2024. (Colombo Gazette)