Tourism Minister claims majority of appointments finalized

21 October 2015 02:54 am - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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Most appointments for the Tourist Board posts have been finalized, Tourism and Christian Affairs Minister John Amaratunga said yesterday.

He confirmed yesterday’s Mirror Business report which said industry veteran Prema Cooray will become the Sri Lanka Conventions Bureau Chairman, while Paddy Withana will be re-appointed as the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority Chairman.

“The Hotel School Chairman will be Dissanayake (Sunil) from BMICH, and Withana will remain the acting Chairman of the Tourism Promotions Bureau,” Amaratunga said.

He noted that no qualified candidate has been found to head the promotions body.

Amaratunga said that the recommendations have been forwarded to both President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.
“I’m certain that these will be approved,” Amaratunga added.

Meanwhile, he said that the 10-member tourism advisory committee—which includes many industry leaders—has gotten 3 new informal members, including business tycoon Dhammika Perera and Galle Face Hotel Chairman Sanjeev Gardnier.

The Tourism Act calls for a maximum of 11 members, however, the committee will be 16, as the Chairman of Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority, Sri Lanka Tourism Promotions Bureau and SriLankan Airlines are also included in an ex-officio capacity.

“They’re the informal members, and its okay, because after all, the committee is there to advise me, and they are at the top of their fields and can give me the best advice,” Amaratunga said.

Meanwhile, he said that the Rs. 200 million ad campaign which should have been finalized this week was only halted and not cancelled, as the process had received many complaints of fraud and corruption.

“What we’re saying is that there are others who were deprived from participating; allow them to come in. Then we’ll evaluate the whole thing. Just because there are complaints and petitions we can’t stop it. We’ll evaluate the whole thing and go with it. There’s no reason to stop it,” he said.

He assured that the other 3 tenders for public relations, digital marketing and media buying will also go ahead. (CW)
 
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