- Comprehensive strategy by early Feb.
- Govt. expects 7 m tourist arrivals, earnings over $ 10 b by 2030
By Charumini de Silva
The Government is planning a joint program for the development of the tourism, aviation and investment promotion sectors to fully realise their potential in a coordinated manner.
Tourism and Aviation Services Minister Prasanna Ranatunga
“The Government has recognised tourism as a thrust sector for economic development. We want the annual number of tourist arrivals to Sri Lanka to increase to seven million by 2030 and thereby generate about $ 10 billion in foreign exchange,” Industrial Export, Investment Promotion, Tourism and Aviation Services Minister Prasanna Ranatunga told the Daily FT.
In a meeting held with the heads of all departments under the Ministry of Industrial Export, Investment Promotion, Tourism and Aviation Services, Ranatunga urged the expeditious preparation of a strategy for this purpose.
“I have given instructions to all the heads of Departments under my Ministry to meet with each institution and discuss the issues and challenges pertaining to the implementations process. It is critical to create a cordial inter-agency coordination system to expedite implementation.
I am expecting a comprehensive report to lay the groundwork for the implementation of this program by early next month,” Ranatunga said.
The Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA), Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB), Sri Lanka Convention Bureau (SLCB), Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) and SriLankan Airlines fall under the purview of the Ministry of Industrial Export, Aviation, Investment Promotion and Tourism.
The new joint program will be implemented under the guidance of the Minister, in a bid to promote Sri Lanka as a top tourist destination for travellers.
Ranatunga pointed out that one of the key objectives of developing the tourism industry was to enhance foreign exchange earnings and through that, improve aviation services both locally and internationally.
“The Government’s objective is to promote Sri Lanka as the number one tourist destination in the world. It is therefore important for us to work according to a plan to properly market ourselves by branding Sri Lanka as top travel destination,” he added.
The Minister also assured the safety of all visitors coming to Sri Lanka, while promising to further enhance facilities provided for tourists to encourage tourism and investment.