SL Tourism post-COVID-19 revival to be executed in two stages

23 April 2020 12:00 am - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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  • Stage One to focus on December 2020 season
  • SLTDA chief says COVID-19 has given opportunity to re-profile SL tourism
  • Plans underway to finalise TOR and TECs for global promotion


Sri Lanka’s tourism sector’s post-COVID-19 approach to revive the sector has been conceptualised to be carried out in two stages, the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) said, where the initial focus would be ready for business come December.


In a statement to the media yesterday, the SLTDA shared that Stage One would focus on the December season 2020, whereas Stage Two would look at post-December 2020.


Stage One would focus on the immediate recovery of the industry, which involves changes to the visa process to include mandatory testing, adjustments to immigration process, airport entry, hotel transfer and certification of hotels to ensure health and safety of tourists, employees and local community.


The development authority however did not elaborate on the Stage Two revival focus areas. 


“The approach focuses on consumer types and will allow for a research-supported global promotional campaign for Sri Lanka and a traveller-focused, evidence-based promotion strategy will be developed,” SLTDA Chairperson Kimarli Fernando said.


She added that COVID-19 has provided the local tourism space an opportunity to re-profile itself when the time is right. 


“We can realign our focus towards higher-yielding tourists and a unique Sri Lankan experience, while ensuring the safety of travellers, our employees and citizens,” she elaborated.


The SLTDA received the Cabinet nod last week for the five-year global promotion initiative, which is critical for the revival of the industry going forward.


According to Fernando, plans are underway to finalise the terms of reference (TOR) and appointment of the procurement, project and technical evaluation committees (TEC).


 

SLTDA seeks assistance from banking sector to help revive tourism

In a bid to help uplift the drastically hit tourism sector, the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) yesterday appealed to the banking sector to extend its fullest support, so that the industry could steer through the current challenges faced. 

While acknowledging the assistance received thus far by the government and Central Bank, the SLTDA said further assistance is sought from the financial sector for the tourism industry stakeholders to carry out their daily activities. 


“We look to the banks and financial institutions to support us and stand by our industry,” said SLTDA Chairperson Kimarli Fernando in a statement yesterday.


She said the SLTDA is contacting banks, seeking assistance for the industry and is working on supporting the industry players to pay the salaries of their employees.


She said the current focus is to ensure the payment of salaries for the staff falling in the lower bracket and for individuals with no safety net.


Fernando also said that the SLTDA is engaging with international funding agencies to help keep the tourism sector afloat. 


The SLTDA is said to be working with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in a three-stage strategy—situation assessment, impact assessment and road mapping— to help get the tourism industry back on track. 


Fernando has urged all tourism industry associations to put forward their proposals so that an all-inclusive long-term strategy could be developed.


Acknowledging that the tourism sector is built on diversity and inclusivity, Fernando stressed that the input and collaboration of all tourism organisations is critical in the current situation and would be of great benefit in planning the future. 


The tourism sector comprises of 34 associations, including regional associations. In addition to the accommodation sector, there are associations of travel agents (DMCs), tour guides and drivers.


While there are 11,071 registered entities and individuals in the industry, there are 2,669 accommodation facilities with 39,253 rooms, the SLTDA said. 

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