Sri Lanka’s Tourism Minister pledges additional concessions to tourism industry
Sri Lanka’s Tourism Minister John Amaratunga has said that among the key proposals outlined in the 2018 Budget is the reverting to the previous excise licensing hours and credit facilities for tourism, which were among additional concessions offered to the industry.
The Minister has made this observation during his address at the Institute of Hospitality Sri Lanka Branch 19th Chairman’s Black Tie Dinner last week.
The Minister during his speech has outlined many challenges the industry has faced this year and the resultant slowdown in arrival figures.
“At the very start of the year we faced the challenge of the partial airport closure which went on for four months. This was followed by devastating floods in the southern half of the country followed by the dengue epidemic which resulted in many countries issuing travel advisories. All this took its toll on the arrival figures this year. We will most likely see the same number of arrivals as last year,” the Minister has been quoted as saying.
The Minister has also expressed optimism about prospects in the tourism industry during the year ahead.
“After much effort we are finally seeing progress in the global marketing campaign which as the industry keeps pointing out, is long overdue. One of the issues we have had is the stringent checks and balances with regard to finance and the fact that officials don’t want to take a chance given past experience. These are practical issues that have delayed the global campaign. However, the digital campaign is now ready to be implemented early next year,” Amaratunga has said.
However, the Minister has also highlighted the need for skills development and proper training for hospitality industry personnel.
“It is no secret that we are facing a shortage of skilled personnel for the hospitality industry. An organisation such as the Institute of Hospitality is in a unique position to help us overcome this problem by leveraging its experience and know-how acquired through 78 years of existence and a branch network spanning over 100 countries,” he has said.
Amaratunga has reportedly called on the institution to actively contribute to the national training efforts undertaken by tourism stakeholders.
The Sri Lankan government’s efforts to promote and develop the country’s tourism sector continue with the incentives offered to the industry in its 2018 Budget. Along with the international road shows and digital campaigns planned for next year would result in a boom in Sri Lanka’s tourism sector. Therefore, many investment opportunities would open up in the island nation’s tourism sector in the near future.
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