The Government would bring in a new Tourism Promotion Law shortly in a bid to boost tourism related sectors of the economy, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe over the weekend said.
Mr. Wickremesinghe made this statement at the AGM of Ceylon Hotel School Graduates Association in Tangalle.
"There will be a new Tourism Promotion Law. The Tourism Authority will not alone run the industry. I have also told the Tourism Authority Chairman to come up with a restructuring plan," he said.
"We must make Sri Lanka a 365-day destination. There will be rain somewhere but sunshine in another place. You can fly anywhere within two hours. If you land in Mattala if it is raining there you should be able to go on another direction. Why aren't we making Sri Lanka 365 days,” he asked.
“We are like a shop in Bambalapitiya which is closed for 150 days an year. We will have more festivals. We have to bring in internationally famous singers. We will have an international Choir Games this year," the Prime Minister added.
The World Choir Games (formerly named the Choir Olympics) is the largest choir competition in the world. Organised for amateur choirs, the event is organised by the Interkultur Foundation.
He said development of tourism was key in developing the economy.
"Tourism brings in foreign exchange. We need the foreign exchange to correct the balance of payment and to repay national debts.
“When we took over in 2015 we did not have enough money to service debt. We needed money to pay debt and for recurrent expenditures. What we have done during the last two years is trying to manage the debt situation. Today our revenue exceeds debt services.
“However, we are still behind as we have to borrow for Government expenditure other than debt services. We got the economy moving. These two years are important. Highest debt repayment comes in 2018 and 2019.
“During these two years the investments should come in so that it would be plain sailing for the country," the Prime Minister said.
Mr. Wickremesinghe said world tourism market had changed as it was no longer Europeans coming in here with travel agents.
"Travel agents are no more. Travelling is controlled by others. We are living in another world. Big airlines we once knew are no longer there. Even budget airlines are having trouble.
“However, people are traveling here. It is Asian travellers we are going to have. Market is changing. Did we here of Trip Advisor some years ago? Things have changed. We have to fit in to the change," he stressed.
“We are in the Indian Ocean in the middle of Indian market, Middle Eastern market and East Asian market. Our target is 5 million tourists.
“How do we go for it? Tourism will have to be a key sector. What are we going to do to market the country? We can think of nature but should think of theme parks? There are 500 to 800 acres in Galle to become resorts.
“There will be golf courses in Galle, Kandy, Iranawilla. We got to think of activities for the tourists. We can think of cruise lines, luxury trains etc. There will be two new museums," he added.
"We will be talking to stake holder in the tourist industry. We got to help the small timers. Some countries have separate focus on informal accommodation sector. We will get all of them registered. We got to think of non-accommodation sectors as well," he said
“If we have enough musicians, dancers we have to focus on it. These trades, needed for the tourism industry, will be thought in schools in the upper grades," he said. (Yohan Perera)
Ahmed Sunday, 24 September 2017 17:44
good things should be appreciated! good that all you understood how the world works now. some of our politicians are still in the 1980s
Reply : 3 24
concern Sunday, 24 September 2017 18:17
Mr. PM Please take care of our country poor people first.
Reply : 3 17
harry bella Tuesday, 26 September 2017 13:45
how by printing money ? or by getting them involved in tourism to have an income.... think before u speak...
Reply : 0 0
reader Tuesday, 26 September 2017 16:32
To take care of the poor, the country needs money - for that we need forex, and for that we need to promote. Please understand the sequence of events!
Reply : 0 0
ANTON Sunday, 24 September 2017 18:28
WHAT ABOUT THE LONGEST OSARI POTA ???
Reply : 2 10
Mr.Perfect Sunday, 24 September 2017 20:20
Mr. Prime Minister, How can you improve tourism in LK when you don't have proper policies. For example we don't have experienced staff, the price of alcohol is sky high, half the month the hotel bars are closed for some reason, Our room prices are very high compared to other Asian countries and offer a very poor service. For some people a bar is like ghost so do you plan on going about improvement.
Reply : 0 22
Vimal Carlos Monday, 25 September 2017 08:16
I took two friends from Mexico to SL , the Bars in Colombo.... After 30 minutes we all left to the hotel , They said the bars here is like "sousage clubs" no woman
Reply : 5 6
dp Monday, 25 September 2017 19:13
VImal carlos..why don't you make a start..leave your wife at the bar for a few hours a day.
Reply : 1 1
Citizen Sunday, 24 September 2017 21:22
All talk only, no action
Reply : 3 17
GH Sunday, 24 September 2017 23:54
Count the millions of US Dollars that how National Debt raised during the past two years, mind it, it is more than that of MR's 10-year term. Don't try to fool the people. Even Arjun Mahendran alone, mere a governor of Central Bank, led the country into an irreparable loss of a TRILLION rupee for Sri Lanka,
Reply : 3 11
warra Monday, 25 September 2017 03:00
what needs to happen is put a cap on per room charge SL is becoming an expense place to holiday in comparison to the competetion in the region. via DM Android App
Reply : 0 5
Harry Monday, 25 September 2017 03:46
We are preaching only no action, how many tourist destinations are there without even basic toilet facilities. All revenue collected goes to the state coffers and not used to develop the facilities and siphoned to other uses.
Reply : 0 5
Ravi Monday, 25 September 2017 06:05
Don't we have enough laws in this country already?It is just that we cant implement any.So would any more new laws be of any use?
Reply : 0 5
DJ Monday, 25 September 2017 07:33
SriLankan airlines brought in the most tourist to Sri Lanka. You appoint some idiots who have closed all European destinations. What duplicity dear PM
Reply : 1 5
Don Monday, 25 September 2017 08:35
Only talks. Take money from tourists, but no toilets, no drinking water, no place to sit down and eat. but these people talk and talk.First make few toilets in Sigiriya, Anuradhapuara, Polonnaruwa etc. and talk.
Reply : 1 11
Sambo Monday, 25 September 2017 18:10
Tourism is Wine, Dine @ women. If you don't have this the don't even think of tourism.
Reply : 1 0
Dickie bird Monday, 25 September 2017 19:47
Holy moly..............................When does this man gets introduced to the PCol ????First things first..................Dirty thief. return poor people's monies.Just empty rhetoric.
Reply : 1 3
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