In response to the article titled ‘No tourist arrivals?’ published in Monday’s Daily FT, the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau yesterday issued the following statement, titled ‘Tourist arrivals steady – statistics ready to be released’.
Providing an explanatory statement on the concerns raised with regard to the release of tourist arrival statistics, the release noted the delays of releasing arrival statistics for the months of Feb/March 2013 as follows:
As the authorised body of issuing tourism statistical data, Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) conducts a systematic, well defined data gathering process in order to release up-to-date and reliable tourism statistics, which has been a regular activity of the organisation from the inception.
The process of gathering, analysing and interpreting the collected data is a time-consuming and highly complex procedure involving a high level of responsibility from the part of management to ensure 100% accuracy of the data before it is released to the industry stakeholders.
During the past two months, the institute has been going through a restructuring process and accordingly a new Director General has been appointed for SLTDA, who took over duties in March 2013. As such the new management had to take its course to be familiarised with the internal systems and procedures to ensure the high level of accuracy and credibility of the data released. Therefore, approval had been granted to release the statistics only after these requirements were fulfilled.
Further, we strongly deny the accusation made in the article stating that industry is prompted to doubt whether “data is being cooked,” questioning the authenticity and transparency of the statistics issued. Sri Lanka Tourism would like to emphasise the fact that the delay in the release of statistics was solely due to the administrative transition that took place in the organisation and for no other reason.
Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority is scheduled to release the tourism arrival statistics related to Feb/March 2013 during the next few days of this week and they will be made available via the official website of SLTDA for public reference.