Minister of Tourism and Lands Harin Fernando has highlighted the ‘urgent’ need for a Policy for Tourism that does not change each time the country’s government or politicians change.
Expressing his views at a news conference held at the Presidential Media Center today (14 Aug) under the theme “Collective Path to a stable country”, Fernando stated that measures in this regard have already begun, and that the relevant policy is due to be presented within the next two weeks.
The minister mentioned that the policy, which was prepared after extensive study by the experts in the field, has now been forwarded to the cabinet, and the way of its operation will be presented to the country in the next two weeks.
The minister who further commented said:
With the correct economic program that President Ranil Wickramasinghe is taking to build this country, there is an awakening in the tourism sector today. Among the leaders who refused to take over the country, it must be said that it is a great pleasure to work with the president who fearlessly accepted the challenge.
Development of the tourism sector can be pointed out as a major approach to solve the dollar crisis in the country. There is a modest happiness about the progress made today compared to the state of the tourism sector a year ago. President Ranil Wickramasinghe is making a great contribution to uplifting the country’s tourism industry. We should promote it more.
Sri Lanka is a very beautiful country. But no one has yet understood the value of its beautiful. And this country is a treasure. We have not yet thought how to use it. The President’s plan is to bring about the necessary change in attitude.
Politicians who have ruled this country for the past 75 years are responsible for the situation this country suffers in present. But today a single person is implementing the necessary policies to move the country forward.
We have already implemented the necessary program to make Sri Lanka a beautiful destination for tourists. Also, in order to further increase the number of tourists, many practical problems related to the tourism sector need to be solved.
It is also expected to introduce a program in the future to reduce the existing traffic in places that have gained tourist attraction in the country. Also, a special program has been planned to ensure the safety of tourists together with the Ministry of Public Security.
A mobile application for the convenience of tourists and a formal program to prevent various irregularities faced by foreign tourists are also going to be implemented.
Also, we are on immediate working to prepare a policy for tourism. The tourism industry of the country needs a national policy that does not change when governments and politicians are changed. The country’s tourism policy cannot be changed just because the change of its minister.
Therefore, after a long analysis, we have forwarded a new policy for tourism which was prepared by experts in the field to the cabinet. We will present the country how it will work, within the next two weeks.
The challenge we had so far was to bring tourists to Sri Lanka. Also, the challenge to be faced in the future is how to maintain the quality of the tourism industry. Employees in the hotel industry in Sri Lanka leave for foreign jobs as soon as they get their first service certificate.
Then another person is hired for it. I observe this situation as a big problem in the hotel industry in this country. We are taking immediate steps to solve that and other problems in the field as well.
It has also been decided to hold an open short film festival on the beautiful places of Sri Lanka targeting tourists. It has been planned to select the best 10 short films through a jury consisting of experts in the field and give them financial rewards, as well as provide them with formal training. This program is planned to be held annually.
Aiming at the promotion of the tourism industry, the ultra-luxury hotel of the Hilton Hotel chain is scheduled to be opened by the President on the 19th in Yala area. Along with that, it is planned to launch a series of tourism advertising programs.