- Central Govt. working on joint action plan for Provincial Councils and Local Govt. institutions to uplift tourism industry
- Minister says master plan for tourism development should be implemented
- Says regulator must facilitate growth of private sector-driven tourism industry
Tourism Minister Prasanna Ranatunga
Tourism Minister Prasanna Ranatunga yesterday said a national initiative will be implemented through a joint action plan of the Provincial Councils and Local Government institutions to revive the tourism industry post-pandemic.
“One tourism development plan should be implemented in the country. The Government is currently working on a joint action plan that is being prepared with that objective in mind,” he said, resuming duties at the Tourism Ministry after the Sinhala and Tamil New Year.
Ranatunga said the aim of the Government is to develop the tourism industry to a higher level than it was before the pandemic.
“The Ministry, Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA), Central Government, the Provincial Councils and the Local Government institutions should work together in the implementation of projects related to the tourism sector,” he stressed.
Noting that 99% of the tourism sector is dependent on the private sector, he added that it was the responsibility of the Government to provide them with the related support and training to uplift the industry.
“It is not the policy of the Government to obstruct the progression of the tourism industry through laws and regulations. As regulators, we must facilitate the growth of the private sector-driven tourism industry,” he added.
He said a number of projects related to the tourism sector have been identified at District level for this purpose.
Keeping in line with the national policy framework, the Minister said that the tourism industry is being modernised as an eco-friendly, local, culturally friendly and widely participatory industry.
“The Ministry and the SLTDA are planning to make the necessary allocations after the Regional Coordinating Committee and District Coordinating Committee submits the proposals identified by the officials,” he said.
The Minister pointed out that two officers each from the Tourism Ministry and the SLTDA have been appointed to implement this program in all districts of the country.
Ranatunga pointed out that the tourism industry has faced the biggest challenge in the world in recent times.
“With the COVID pandemic, the industry completely collapsed. Despite the challenges, Sri Lanka managed to reopen borders for international travellers and became one of the few countries that recharged due to the bio-bubble travel initiatives implemented by the Government,” he said.
Tourism Ministry Secretary S. Hettiarachchi, Additional Secretary Deepa Sannasuriya, Aviation and Export Development State Ministry Secretary Madhava Deva Surendra also addressed the gathering.