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Step forward for tourism boost:

New Tourism Act hailed

Stakeholders of the leisure industry hailed the decision taken to implement the new Tourism Act with effect from October 1.

“This is a piece of legislation the industry was waiting for a long time and it will create better working relationship between the government bodies and the private sector” said the President of the Sri Lanka Tourist Hotels Association, Hiran Cooray.

Speaking to the ‘Daily News Business’ he said that this is a very positive move initiated by the government to develop the industry.

The new Tourism Act (No. 38 of 2005) will come into operation with effect from October 01 as per the gazette notification published on August 23 and accordingly, the Tourism Development Authority will be established.

President of Sri Lanka Inbound Tour Operators, Dirk Grigson said that the move to implement the act would have far reaching positive developments to the country. “We must thank both the Minister and the Government for the initiative taken to go ahead with it,” he said.

“Private and government sector partnerships are effectively carried out in countries such as Singapore which could boast of mass development in tourism,” he said.

Hotelier Anura Loku- hetty said that if the act is implemented and coordinated constructively it would help towards developing the industry.

“The industry can easily become the number one foreign exchange earner through the proper implementation of the Act,” he said. The ‘Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau’ will be a new institution set up to undertake tourism marketing and promotion.

Additional Secretary to the Ministry of Tourism, George Michael said that they would now be in a position to reclaim the Tourism CESS.

An accumulated amount of Rs. 750 m is still lying in the Government coffers.

He said that the model of the act is designed similar to the Singapore model, which proved very productive.

He said, “This is only a decentralising of power which is the need of the hour,” he said.

There is a committee to monitor the progress of the implementation of the Act on instructions of the Tourism Minister, and legal implications if any are to be addressed in the form of amendments to the Act.

“The Sri Lanka Convention Bureau will continue to function while the Sri Lanka Institute of Tourism and Hotel Management will be set up under the New Act shortly,” he said.

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