ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday, March 11, 2007
Vol. 41 - No 41
Financial Times  

Three months more for new Tourism Act

It will be three months before the new Tourism Act sees the light of day.

Tourism Minister Milinda Moragoda told reporters this week that after several rounds of discussions with the four main tourism associations, he will be ready to present the new Act with changes to parliament.

“I have got the four main associations to represent their nominees for the discussions which they have done and will be forming working groups to discuss the different opinion over the Act by industry stakeholders,” he explained.

“I think some stakeholders have reservations and we have to find it out which is what has to be done in a democracy,” Moragoda said during his first meeting with the media.

Another long wait is also expected with the new minister observing that there needs to be a “consultation process” to ensure the Act will be implemented. Asked as to how long the transition period is expected to last, Moragoda pointed out he needs to report back to the cabinet, on the consultation process and the progress of the Trust Fund, within a period of three months.

‘The transition step is the first one taken’ in order to getting the Act off the ground with the private sector now having a bigger say in the Trust Fund.

Moragoda said the ministry will take up initiatives such as whale watching, initiating of a pictorial website of Sri Lanka Tourism and have also proposed Presidential Tourism Awards to recognise the industry players.

“There has to be a good domestic tourism base in a bid to ensure that the country will be able to generate increased numbers of international tourists,” he said, adding that the government has also set up plans to generate and promote increased pilgrim tourism to the country from countries such as China, Thailand, India and Japan.

The new Tourist Board Chairman Renton De Alwis also participated in the discussion.

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Copyright 2007 Wijeya Newspapers Ltd.Colombo. Sri Lanka.