Bigwigs to show tourism’s way forward

Monday, 12 October 2015 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

  • Minister John Amaratunga to appoint top personalities to Advisory Committee under Tourism Act


Several prominent persons in the leisure industry are to be appointed to the Tourism Advisory Board this week, the Daily FT learns.

The appointment to the Advisory Committee by Tourism Minister John Amaratunga is in line with Tourism Act No. 38 of 2005 under Section 32 to advise the Minister on any matters in relation to the travel and tourism industry.

Among top persons to be appointed are business tycoon and Aitken Spence Chairman Harry Jayawardena, John Keells Holdings Deputy Chairman Ajit Gunewardene, Carson Cumberbatch Director Hari Selvanathan, Hemas Holdings Director Abbas Esufally, Galle Face Hotel Group Chairman Sanjeev Gardiner, Jetwing Travels Managing Director Shiromal Cooray, industry veteran Udaya Nanayakkara, Dilmah Founder Merrill J Fernando, Brandix CEO Ashroff Omar, and ex-Unilever Ceylon Chairman Amal Cabral. 

Chairmen of Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority Paddy Withana, Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau Dr. Rohantha Athukorala and SriLankan Ajith Dias will serve the Advisory Board in Ex-Officio capacity.

The selection of persons for the Advisory Committee is to ensure the tourism sector gets leading industry expertise as well from outside from those who have proven success in branding and global business success.

Via right expertise and policies, the new Minister Amaratunga is keen to develop the tourism industry on a more sustainable basis and draw a greater number of high-spending tourists. 

As per the Act, the Minister can appoint not less than five and not more than 11 persons who possess wide experience and qualifications in relation to global travel, tourism and related industries, to the Advisory Committee.

It will be the duty of the Advisory Committee to tender advice on the future direction and strategy of the tourist and travel industry and make its recommendations thereon.

In September Sri Lanka enjoyed the highest tourist arrivals growth so far this year, propelling the cumulative figure to over 1.3 million.

As per data released by the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority, arrivals in September amounted to 143,374, up by 36%, the highest year-on-year growth so far this year. The previous best was in July, which produced a 31% growth to record an arrivals figure of 175,804.

With the September haul, tourist arrivals in the first nine months were 1.315 million, up by 17% from the corresponding period of last year.

Sri Lanka exceeded its target of 1.5 million tourist arrivals last year and earned $ 2.206 billion from tourism. The Tourism Authority has set a target of two million tourist arrivals this year and 2.5 million by 2016.

According to the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau, tourism receipts by end September reached $ 2.1 billion. 

As per the Act, the Minister may give special or general directions in writing as to the performance of the duties and the exercise of the powers of the Advisory Committee, and the Advisory Committee shall give effect to such directions.

The Tourism Development Authority may forward any matter to the Advisory Committee for its advice and the Advisory Committee shall forward its advice within the shortest possible period.

The term of office of the members of the Advisory Committee shall be three years, provided that a member appointed in place of a member who resigns or otherwise vacates office shall hold office for the unexpired part of the term of office of the member whom he succeeds.

The Advisory Committee may with the approval of the Minister appoint such officers or servants to assist the Advisory Committee in carrying out its duties under the Act.