New initiative to promote tourism investment opportunities

  • In 2019, country attracted $ 108 m in investments to tourism sector; last year, it increased to $ 478 m

The Government is planning to roll out a special program to woo tourism-related investments, bundled with attractive incentives to encourage foreign direct investments (FDIs) in the post-COVID era. The tourism industry has been identified as an export industry in recent years and is also recognised as a thrust sector to develop the economy, which attracts much-needed foreign exchange. “The key objective is to attract more tourism-related investments to spur growth in the economy,” Tourism Minister Prasanna Ranatunga said during a progress review meeting of Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) this week.

He reiterated that the Government is keen on providing attractive relief to potential local and foreign businessmen in various eco-friendly and sustainable tourism investment opportunities. The Minister also emphasised that the developments should be made without any harm to the environment, archaeology and cultural sites in the country. The officials pointed out that the process of approving tourism-related investments has been simplified where a general application has been finalised to cover all line agencies. “Tourism-related FDIs have increased by 150% in the last year. In 2019, the country attracted $ 108 million worth of investments to the tourism sector, and in the last year, it increased to $ 478 million,” they pointed out. SLTDA has introduced a comprehensive brochure for investors, which covers the entire process of investing. The Minister said that steps have been taken to formulate guidelines to facilitate investors on eco-friendly/green building designs and projects, which will seek the views of all professional bodies, such as the Urban Development Authority (UDA), Architects’ Institutions and Engineering Institutions. A memorandum of understanding (MoU) was also signed between the SLTDA and the Board of Investment (BoI) to reduce the time and cost of investors, whilst a similar MoU was signed between UDA and the Coast Conservation Department (CCD). Tourism Ministry Secretary S. Hettiarachchi, Additional Secretaries Waruna Samaradiwakara and Deepa Sanansuriya, Sri Lanka Tourism Chairperson Kimarli Fernando, and SLTDA Director General Dhammika Wijayasinghe were also present at the discussion.

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