Tourism targets US $ 5 b FDIs
*Industry tax structure to be
*Stakeholders to resolve issues on
Deputy Economic Development Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena last
week invited the private sector to come into public-private sector
partnerships with the Government to take the tourism industry forward.
Minister Lakshman Yapa
The Government has decided to invite the private sector to take the
tourism industry forward more vigorously, the Deputy Minister said at
the Tourism Awards - 2010 ceremony held at the Water’s Edge Hotel on
Friday. The event was hosted by Sri Lanka Tourism.
The Deputy Minister commended the private sector for the resilience
it showed during the war and said that the present conditions in the
country are conducive to expansion and growth of the sector.
He also said that a 43 percent increase in tourist arrivals to Sri
Lanka was recorded in April 2011 than during the corresponding period
last year. The Asia region has shown an increase in this aspect of only
13 percent during these periods while the global increase has been a
mere 5 percent.
He said that the government has made decisions to take the industry
forward and has extended the present limit on land leases for hotels
from 33 years to 99 years islandwide with the exception of the
Kutchivelli tourism zone.
He also said that the government had decided to reject a US $ 5
million International Cricket Council grant for the promotion of tourism
as it believed that it was more important to develop infrastructure and
facilities for hotels rather than spending that money on promotion. “It
is much more important to increase the room capacity and facilities for
the industry than merely spending money on promotions,” he said.
He stressed the importance of providing Asian travellers with the
same facilities provided to travellers from the West as the number of
Asian travellers are increasing steadily.
The industry has already received US $ 1.2 billion in Foreign Direct
Investments for the period 2005-2011 and it hopes to attract US$ 5
billion by 2016 when the industry is targeting to achieve 2.5 million
The Government, will introduce a simplified and uniform tax structure
which will be different to the existing system within the next month.
He asked the private sector to bring their issues to him for
discussion so that the industry can be developed on consensus.
Meanwhile, Sri Lanka Tourism Chairman Dr Nalaka Godahewa said the
government is formulating a policy plan and a marketing strategy and
said that it would have regulatory, policy and manpower aspects.
He also urged the private sector to be more innovative and work hard
so that the 2.5 million tourist arrivals by 2016 will become a reality.
“This is not difficult at all if we get our act together,” he said.
He also invited all stakeholders to work together to add value to the
industry and said he hopes to have a more vibrant awards ceremony in