Plans underway to revive tourism industry

Wednesday, 22 April 2020

The Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority has drafted plans for an early revival post-COVID-19, as the country starts opening up gradually from this week.

The Authority said a major step was the Cabinet approval of the critical five-year global promotion initiative last week and plans are underway to finalize the Terms of Reference and appointment of the Procurement, Project and Technical Evaluation Committees; and the process will start when the time is right.

“The approach focuses on consumer types and will allow for research supported global promotional campaigns for Sri Lanka and a traveller-focused, evidence-based promotion strategy will be developed” Sri Lanka Tourism Chairperson Kimarli Fernando stated, issuing a media release.

Sri Lanka Tourism is also currently working with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in a three-stage strategy of situation assessment, impact assessment and road mapping, to help get the tourism industry back on its feet.

According to Data, there are 11,071 registered entities and individuals in the industry. Additionally, there are 2,669 accommodation facilities with 39,253 rooms.

The industry also comprises 34 associations including regional associations. In addition to the accommodation sector, there are associations of Travel Agents (DMC’s), Tour Guides and Drivers, inputs from whom are also essential going forward.

“Tourism in Sri Lanka is an industry built on diversity and inclusivity, the input and collaboration of all tourism organisations is critical in the current situation, and would be of great benefit in planning the future.

I look to all associations to provide us with their formal proposals to help Sri Lanka Tourism to complete an inclusive long-term strategy,” she said, adding that the Sri Lanka Tourism Alliance industry grouping has already submitted a proposal.

She said despite the uncertainty of the current situation, it is necessary to address day-to-day matters, whilst maintaining the foresight to plan ahead.

COVID-19 also provides us with an opportunity for Sri Lanka Tourism to re-profile itself when the time is right. “We can realign our focus towards higher-yielding tourists and a unique Sri Lankan experience; while ensuring the safety of travellers, our employees and citizens,” she added.

According to her, the Sri Lanka Tourism’s post-COVID-19 approach takes is in two stages – Stage 1 (December Season 2020) and Stage 2 (Post-December 2020).