Nalaka Godahewa tosses three tourism hats
- To remain as Chairman of Tourism Development Authority
Top professional Dr. Nalaka Godahewa yesterday resigned as Chairman of Sri Lanka Tourism and two other entities whilst continuing to serve as Head of Tourism Development Authority.
“I have decided to resign from the Chairmanship of the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau, Sri Lanka Tourism Convention Bureau and Sri Lanka Institute of Tourism and Hotel Management. I will remain as the Chairman of Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority, where I will continue our work in implementing the agreed tourism development strategy,” Godahewa told the Daily FT.
He said that in 2010 a decision was made to initiate a process of amalgamating all four tourism institutes governed by the Tourism Act No. 38 of 2005 and he was made Chairman of all four. These are independent institutes with independent boards and separate staff.
“The amalgamation requires passing new legislation and probably due to some unavoidable circumstances, this amalgamation process seems to have got delayed. I feel in this context I should give the Ministry in charge of Tourism an opportunity to revisit the idea of having one Chairman for all four institutes. Maybe there is a possibility of greater focus in each of these institutes under a completely independent leadership and structure,” Godahewa said, adding that his move was to allow the Ministry the flexibility of revisiting the original thought process.
Though shedding three Chairman hats out of four, Godahewa remains optimistic about the future of tourism in post-war Sri Lanka.
“Tourism is one of the best performing industries in the country and since we launched our five-year Sri Lanka Tourism Development master plan under the clear leadership of Minister of Economic Development Basil Rajapaksa, we have been continuously achieving our intended objectives and targets,” Godahewa said.
“Over the last two years we have almost doubled tourism arrivals to the country, reaching 855,975 arrivals in 2011 compared to 447,890 in 2009. We have improved infrastructure, improved the investment climate, reduced bureaucracy and red tape hindering development, addressed policy and regularly concerns and also introduced a very clear country branding and positioning strategy. Now we need to take tourism to new heights. For that we need to constantly challenge the way we work and improve our products, services, structures and processes.
“I am sure that the Ministry will make use of this opportunity to do the best for the industry. It is the responsibility of all those who are genuinely interested in the development of Motherland to put aside personal interests and make use of every opportunity to help achieving the development goals of this country supporting the vision of President Mahinda Rajapaksa. I have done just that,” Godahewa added.