Sri Lanka tourism has too much of discussions but hardly any decision is being taken for development, said President of the Chamber of Tourism and Industry A.M. Jaufer.
Speaking to Daily News at the recently concluded Tourism summit at BMICH he asked what was the point in holding mega conferences if decisions taken at them are not being implemented. “Sri Lanka is targeting over 5 million arrivals in 2020, but the country firstly doesn’t have the rooms, trained staff and infrastructure to meet this requirement.”
He also said that it was very sad that although the Ministry of Tourism had so many institutions but it did not have a research section.
“This is a big drawback for the future of tourism planning and for monitoring the trends of the industry.”
He said that though there are over 10 domestic airports there is hardly any activity in then expect Jaffna and Ratmalana. “This may be because there is a huge 15% tax on local airlines and the government must suspend this tax until such time there is a decent domestic airline operation formed.”
Jaufer said that the Regional Tourism Chambers play a key role in the tourism development but they find it difficult to operate due to lack of funds.
“It would be a good idea to divert around at least 5% of tourism taxes given to Provincial Councils and local bodies to these chambers to maintain at least a secretariat from the regional chambers.”