Govt needs to accomplish four key points | Daily News

Revive tourism industry

Govt needs to accomplish four key points

The government needs to accomplish four key points to boost back the tourism industry of the country, President, Sri Lanka Association of Inbound Tour Operators (SLAITO), Harith Perera said.

These points are to establish security in the Island to ensure the safety of locals and foreigners, appoint an international accredited PR agency to carry out a short term recovery plan, support the industry in financial terms during this troubled times and appoint a spokesperson so that there is only one voice coming out from the government.

Despite the 39 adverse travel advisories globally on Sri Lanka, only a few operators have cancelled their tours to the Island. “We are in touch with them and they are willing to come back as soon as the advisories are softened,” he said. Tourist travels has been reduced by 60% to 70% but the country still attracts 1,700 foreign visitors daily.

He said f to lift the travel advisories, statements from the government and security forces assuring that the situation is under control, needs to be obtained. A tension free environment where life comes back to normalcy should be present.

This means schools re-opened, religious places and churches fully functional. “Having security check points and increased security presence is not a problem and in fact reassuring in the modern world,” Perera added.

However it is tough to get a comprehensive guarantee from the government on the national security assurance. But a regular update on the progress made and some sort of assurance on safety and security would be ideal.

“I’m not sure whether we have a transparent security update mechanism, but we have requested the government for one so that security updates of the country would be visible to the international community,” he said. In fact few tourism industry leaders are working on a similar initiative as it is very important during times of emergency.

Been the third largest and fastest growing source of foreign earnings last year and accounting for a GDP of 4.9%, the tourism industry expects three million tourists this year.

However the number would be reduced due to the sudden calamity occurred on Easter Sunday.

Currently, the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB) is working hard on a PR boost to manage the image of the country as a whole that includes a 45 day and 6 month plan which would bring normalcy back to the country on the tourism front.

“This would pacify the negativity to a certain extent,” he further said.


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