Sri Lanka Tourism unveils new effort to register informal sector operators

  • Iconic cricketer Kumar Sangakkara volunteers to help in initiative involving digital media

  • Video campaign titled ‘Come, together let’s rebuild the industry we all love’ is fully funded by the Australian Aid together with MDF

  • “We are united, we are Sri Lanka”, says Sangakkara as core message

  • As of end-June, total of 5,821 entities were registered with SLTDA

  • SLTDA extends registration fee waiver till 31 Dec., aims at registering all informal establishments

  • Registration will give recognition as legal entity, easy to instil confidence in international tourists

By Charumini de Silva

Sri Lanka Tourism has launched a drive to register informal sector operators with the help of iconic cricketer Kumar Sangakkara.

The key objective of the initiative is to absorb the informal sector tourism services and establishments to the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) registration process. A unique video features Sangakkara with a core message “Come, together let’s rebuild the industry we all love!” and has gone viral. “We are working tirelessly to provide an easy registration process for tourism businesses. As registered entities, they will also be eligible to receive financial and non-financial benefits,” Sri Lanka Tourism Chairperson Kimarli Fernando said in the advert. “Registration will give recognition as legal entity, easy to instil confidence in international tourists,” added Sangakkara in the short video of 76 seconds. “Our objective is to develop Sri Lanka›s tourism industry to become globally competitive. We are united, we are Sri Lanka,” adds Sangakkara. As of 30 June, the total establishments registered with SLTDA was at 5,821, comprising 3,686 accommodation sector entities and 2,135 in the service sector. To register those in the informal sector, one can type ‘Register’ and send a text message to +94 71 544 0000. When asked the rationale for selecting Sangakkara for the campaign, General Dhammika Wijayasingha told the Daily FT said: “As a world-famous iconic character and as an international tourism ambassador, he is the ideal candidate for this promotional video.” She also said that the former Sri Lanka Cricket captain volunteered to do this video without any payment. “The entire informal sector tourism services and establishments will be targeted for this program,” Wijayasingha added. She pointed out it was evident that the unregistered or informal sector was impacted more during the pandemic than the registered entities because they were not entitled to most of the concessions given to the formal tourism industry. Wijayasingha also said that SLTDA has extended the registration fee waiver till 31 December. She said there is no deadline for the initiative, as it is targeting the whole informal sector tourism services and establishments to get into the SLTDA registration process. The Director-General said that registering with SLTDA will enable accommodation and service providers to be recognised as legal entities and will make it easy to instil confidence in international tourists to choose Sri Lanka as their preferred holiday destination. Wijayasingha said the entire video series production program is fully funded by the Australian Aid together with Market Development Facility (MDF), and there was no cost for the SLTDA or the Government. Original Article : https://www.ft.lk/front-page/Sri-Lanka-Tourism-unveils-new-effort-to-register-informal-sector-operators/44-721176

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