- Aimed at luring in informal sector into the regulatory framework
- Hopes to increase number of registration by providing a hassle-free service
By Shabiya Ali Ahlam
In an effort to pull in the rapidly expanding informal hospitality sector under the regulatory purview, the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) has moved towards fully automating the licensing and registration process.
The automation was launched as a pilot earlier in February and came into full effect in April, completely scrapping off the tedious manual process that had been in practice since the 1960s.
“The informal sector is booming in Sri Lanka and most of them are unaware that registering with the STLDA is a mandatory requirement. It is to encourage this cluster to come into the framework that we opted to fully automate the registration system, making the process seamless, hassle-free and least time-consuming,” said Sri Lanka Tourism Director ICT Udana Wickramasinghe to Mirror Business.
The registration process that took approximately two months to complete is now cut down to about 14 days. Applicants are expected to upload the relevant documents online and a courier service has been set to facilitate the passing of any hard copies required.
The hard copies are to be sent after being certified by a lawyer, stating the authenticity of the documents marked as ‘true copies’, via the courier service. The details of the courier service will be sent to the applicant via email during the application process.
Payments for the same can be made, either through the payment gateway option online or by remitting the relevant fee to the designated STLDA Bank of Ceylon (BOC) account, after which the slip would have to be uploaded online for acknowledgement. The cyber security is assessed and verified by Sri Lanka CERT|CC. Made available are also a helpline and an online chat service that would assist any applicant, should they run into issues in using the online system.
According to Wickramasinghe, since the system went live, the number of registration has increased and is moving in a smooth manner. The new online system is also observed to be aiding the STLDA in uplifting its efficiency as it indicates, if any, the delays in the approval process.
Furthermore, established is an ‘Enforcement Unit’ that is dedicated towards monitoring and pulling into the system the properties that fail to register. The unit was set up two months ago and is expected to come into full effect within the next six months. The SLTDA was formed as the apex body for Sri Lanka Tourism. The agency aims to develop diverse, unique and quality tourism services and products that would make Sri Lanka as a unique destination.