–USD 10 billion target by 2025
–Will not hesitate to take necessary decisions
President Gotabaya Rajapaksa instructed officials to plan a target-based strategy to promote the tourism industry in Sri Lanka.
Increasing income from tourism to USD 10 billion by 2025, the industry can play the leading role in economic growth, President said during a meeting with officials of the Ministry of Tourism and Civil Aviation held at the Presidential Secretariat today (13).
“We require a skilled team with expertise and dedication. Every step should generate immediate results. On my part I do not hesitate to take decisions for the benefit of the country. I expect the officials would commit themselves to pass benefits of such decisions onto the public. If there is a target -based plan, every challenge can be overcome”, said the President.
Issues identified related to the tourism sector and measures to promote the industry were broadly discussed.
President emphasized the necessity of upgrading the quality of facilities provided to tourists visiting the country and amenities at airports should be streamlined. Importance of developing places of tourist attraction and building an effective promotional mechanism was also highlighted by the President.
The indigenous Ayurvedic system has already become highly popular among foreigners. Priority should be given to promote unique activities such as surfing and promoting Ceylon tea.
Shopping malls should be equipped with requirements sought after by tourists. The need of a systematic mechanism to attract tourists was also stressed. The President instructed the Tourist Board to implement programmes with the participation of Sri Lankan envoys overseas to build the image of Sri Lanka and to promote it as a tourist destination.
The standard of the aviation sector should be enhanced. President described the importance of effective coordination and work in unison among entities which come under the purview of Tourist Board.
Establishing direct flights will increase the influx of tourists. Attention was paid to commence direct flights between Sri Lanka and European countries.
It was also discussed to provide training facilities to undergraduates in tourism field at hotel schools to produce qualified hotel managers.
During the discussion it was decided to reactivate the Tourism Police and to appoint a senior DIG in charge.
Attention was also drawn to amend rules and regulations in order to promote the sector and to remove unnecessary approvals procedures.
Ministers Prasanna Ranatunga, Arundika Fernando, Secretary to the Ministry of Tourism and Civil Aviation S. M. Mohomad, Secretary to the State Ministry of Tourism Promotion S. S. S. Fernando and several other senior officials were present at the discussion.