* Government ready to facilitate tourism industry – Finance Minister
Fri, Jul 30, 2021, 08:36 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.
July 30, Colombo: Basil Rajapaksa, Minister of Finance has stated that the Government is ready to implement the measures required for the development of the tourism industry and related sectors by continuously providing the necessary facilities to revive the tourism industry in Sri Lanka in the face of the global pandemic situation.
This was stated by the Minister at a discussion held at the Ministry of Finance this morning (30) with the sectors related to the tourism sector. The discussion was attended by a number of hoteliers, and representatives of airlines and travel agencies.
Representatives of the hotel industry, airlines and travel agencies briefed the Minister on the problems faced by the representatives of the tourism sectors in attracting tourists to the country.
The Minister separately discussed identified problematic situations at length with the representatives of the relevant sectors.
Expressing his views, Finance Minister Basil Rajapaksa said that the government would work tirelessly to facilitate the revival of the tourism industry under a targeted program.
Recalling how the tourism industry had overcome some of the setbacks during the last war, the Minister expressed confidence that the current situation could also be overcome in a short period of time.
Mr. Rajapaksa said that steps would be taken to educate other countries on the Covid situation in Sri Lanka and the progress in the vaccination program, and that separate discussions would be held with countries, who have imposed travel restrictions on Sri Lanka due to the pandemic, to ease those restrictions.
Emphasis was placed on the need for the relevant departments to implement a joint program in releasing information on the Covid epidemic situation and the vaccination program.
The Minister pointed out that while there has been a setback in a number of sectors in the country due to the Covid epidemic, country’s export earnings sector has been able to achieve significant growth in the last few months due to the continuous implementation of programs in the recent past. He also stressed the need to similarly revive the tourism sector and bring it to the level of earning foreign exchange.
Representatives of the Tourist Hotels Association said that the Government’s contribution to the tourism industry under the Covid Revival Relief Scheme in the face of the epidemic was commendable and that it was ready to support the Government’s efforts to achieve future goals.
The Finance Minister further pointed out that many countries in the world have introduced various relief packages to keep the tourism industry afloat in the face of the epidemic and there is a need to study them and introduce relief packages to create a competitive tourism attraction.
Ministers Pavithra Wanniarachchi and Prasanna Ranatunga, State Ministers Ajith Nivard Cabraal, Wimalaweera Dissanayake, D.V. Chanaka, and Priyankara Jayaratne, and a number of government officials were present at the discussion.