Sri Lankan Tourism is yet to settle over US$ 3 million to several global advertising companies and media houses.
An official from Sri Lanka Tourism said that these have to be paid to Bloomberg, Sky News U.K., Aljazeera and to CNN.
He said that these payments are now long overdue by more than two years.Lands, Christian Affairs and Tourism Minister John Amaratunge accepted that they are yet to pay several international media houses.
“But I must tell you that these ‘advertising deals’ were sealed during the previous regime and former administrators and hence the present management is not required to pay it.”
“Though these deals were inked before we must also find out if the so called advertising campaigns actually did take place.” However the industry points out that the payments of this nature is paid after the completion the contract.
The Tourism in their Bank of Ceylon bank account has over Rs. 3 billion mainly collected from Tourism Development Levy (TDL) and hence these agreements should be honoured irrespective of who signed them.TDL is paid by the private sector to promote and market destination Sri Lanka in foreign countries.
The Minister also said tourism is now moving in an upward trend and they are targeting 3.5 million arrivals this year. “This will bring in revenue in excess of US$ 3.5 billion. The revenue in 2016 was US$ 3.2 billion.”
Amaratunge said this year they are also launching more international promotions. He said they hope to attract around 4 million tourists by 2020 and revenue of around US$ 5 billion.
Several new international hotels chains will open in Sri Lanka this year and many more have requested for investment opportunities.