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    Govt and PCs must cooperate to boost tourism Featured

    January 25, 2020

    The Provincial Councils(PCs) and the Government should work together to develop tourism, Tourism and Aviation Minister Prasanna Ranatunga said speaking at the inaugural session of the National Initiative for Co-operation between Sri Lanka Tourism and the Provincial Councils.The event was held at the Sri Lanka Institute of Tourism and Hotel Management yesterday.

    Minister Ranatunga highlighted the difficulties arising from different pieces of land suitable for tourism development falling under different arms of the state. The goal of the event was to increase tourism receipts to USD 10 billion in line with President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s vision.The Minister signalled a desire to reform legislation on the tourism development levy.
    State Minister of Tourism and Aviation Arundika Fernando, Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority Chairman Kimali Fernando and State Ministry Secretary Saman Fernando also participated at the event.State Minister Arundika Fernando thanked the President for giving him the mandate to increase tourism receipts.
    He said that with the President’s blessings, state officials should work for the realisation of this goal. State Minister Fernando said that Kalpitiya was better than the Maldives and it was just a question of improving infrastructure.
    The Provincial Councils were asked to present proposals to liberalize the issuance of beverage licenses targetted tourism which the central government would look on favorably. The Provincial Councils called for targeted initiatives to foster the growth of religious tourism.

    The issue of transport licenses and recent incidents were discussed. Sabaragamuwa Governor Tikiri Kobbekaduwa said that there was a racket with regards to the distribution of rail tickets to foreigners.Minister Ranatunga said that there was a missing price point in the market for tourists. Ranatunga said he didn’t see why systems that are in place internationally aren’t implemented domestically allowing passengers to book tickets online on luxury vans and buses.
    The Minister also said that to his understanding of the law such an operation would not require a route license.State Minister Fernando said the tourism study courses around the country were failing to provide students with practical exposure that would make them highly employable.He felt that there should be more co-operation with the private sector to improve the number of places available.



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