‘Sri Lanka honoured at UNWTO’ | Sunday Observer

‘Sri Lanka honoured at UNWTO’

The bi-annual meeting of the General Assembly of the United Nations World Tourism Organization took place in Chengdu, China from September 11-16. It discussed how to advance the contribution of tourism to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and define the actions of the Organization for the period 2018-2019.

Sri Lanka was represented at this meeting by the Minister of Tourism Development and Christian Religious Affairs, John Amaratunga who was elected as a vice chair of the UNWTO General Assembly by the Committee on South Asia.

“This appointment shows the recognition that Sri Lanka has gained as an upcoming tourism destination. It will help me to portray Sri Lanka and its unique attractions to the leaders of world tourism.

It is indeed an honour and I will leverage this appointment to put Sri Lanka in the world tourism spotlight,” said Minister Amaratunga.

Sri Lanka Tourism has fought multiple battles throughout this year starting from the airport closure for four months, to the devastating floods in the south to the garbage crisis followed by the dengue issue, all of which have been negatively highlighted by the international media.

“These unfortunate events which were beyond our control have obviously had a negative impact on arrivals this year and it is only now that there is a conducive environment for inbound tourism,” the Minister said.

“Despite all this it is indeed reassuring that arrivals are beginning to pick up again and we are very confident of achieving our targets for this year,” said Minister Amaratunga, adding, “I hope there will not be any other disruptions in the next four months.”

Secretary-General, World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Dr. Taleb Rifai, described the 22nd UNWTO General Assembly as a “A unique opportunity to get the sector united towards the common goal of making tourism a true driver of sustainable development.”