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Tourism industry gears for changing Act

The tourism industry that has been firing guns all around against a proposed new Tourism Act has taken a breather following reassurances from Tourism Minister Prasanna Ranatunga that, they would be heard.

Sri Lanka Association of Inbound Tour Operators (SLAITO) President Tilak Weerasinghe, present at Thursday’s stakeholders meeting with the Minister, told the Business Times that they as an industry had agreed with the Minister that some areas need to be revisited and “we all agreed to give our input to change the Act.”

In this respect, the key stakeholders have agreed to nominate a team both from within the sector and outside professionals to re-look at areas that require changes in going forward. Minister Ranatunga had pointed out that they need to change certain aspects like keeping the Sri Lanka Institute of Tourism and Hotel Management (SLITHM) separate and bringing Conventions, Promotions and the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) under one body.

The minister had assured the industry that they had not yet drafted the proposed Act and that once the draft is prepared they would ensure the stakeholders are made aware prior to gaining approval for it.

In this respect, the industry had been given three months to submit their recommendations to the draft Act for any changes to be incorporated.

Further the minister had assured that the industry which is 95 per cent private-sector driven will continue to remain in the proposed new Act and that their ideas and inputs will be taken into consideration. (SD)

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