SL appoints high level task force to boost tourism

Colombo, Jan 21 : The Sri Lankan Tourism Ministry on Tuesday appointed a seven-member high level task force to transform the island’s tourism sector into a $10 billion industry by 2030.

Minister of Industrial Export, Investment Promotion, Tourism and Civil Aviation, Prasanna Ranatunga said in a statement that the task force consisted of key state sector stakeholders, including the chairman of flag carrier SriLankan Airlines, reports Xinhua news agency.

The Minister told the local Daily Financial Times that the task force was expected to identify problems faced by the tourism industry and offer solutions and implementation guidance on the future development of the sector.

Given the importance of the sector for the development of the economy, Minister Ranatunga had also instructed the task force to submit its recommendations within two weeks.

In addition, the Minister has directed the task force to identify new areas to develop tourism apart from traditional tourist attractions.

“The task force has been instructed to submit proposals and programs to promote tourism based on areas such as amusement parks, religion, cultural and national heritage, adventure sports, agriculture and forestry tourism, indigenous Ayurveda and so on,” he said.

Ranatunga also said that he intended to implement a strategic marketing programme to promote Sri Lankan tourism within a wide range of countries.

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa said here last week that his government would aim to increase the annual tourist arrival figure to seven million by 2030, while also making it a $10 billion industry.

Last year, Sri Lanka attracted over 1.9 million tourists with India, China and Britain being the leading markets.

The island nations’s tourism industry suffered massive losses last year after the April 21 Easter Sunday bombings that killed over 250 people. It targeted terrorist three luxury hotels in Colombo and three churches.

The Tourism Ministry said that the number of tourist arrivals dropped by 70 per cent after the attack, going from 166,975 tourists to 37,802 between April and May 2019.

/IANS

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