Tourism Awards - recognition for 72 best performers | Sunday Observer

Tourism Awards - recognition for 72 best performers

Minister John Amaratunga launches the website of Sri Lanka Tourism Awards 2018.  Pic: Vipula Amarasinghe
Minister John Amaratunga launches the website of Sri Lanka Tourism Awards 2018. Pic: Vipula Amarasinghe

The sixth annual Sri Lanka Tourism Awards 2018 will be conducted after a lapse of six years to recognise industry talents and reward them.

There will be awards for 72 best performers in the industry under 11 categories with three main sectors, accommodation, travel and tourism and specified tourism businesses.

The introduction of 12 new recognitions this year will enable Sri Lanka Tourism to encompass new and diversified tourism products and service offerings.

“Sri Lanka could attract much more tourists than the targeted 2.5 million as the country has numerous attractions to offer to the tourists. The current level of arrivals is not at a satisfactory state when compared to the other Asian countries and we need to work on this area and pay more attention to increase the arrivals. We could even go up to 3.5 million tourists by 2019 if the global environment and country’s affairs are favourable,” Minister of Tourism Development and Christian Religious Affairs, John Amaratunga said.

“The digital marketing plan will be submitted to the Cabinet this week and the promotional activities will start off by the end of October. With these promotional efforts, the country will be able to attract more tourists. However, we need to improve on quality of service delivery and standards on the industry,” he said.

The country needs to have a special package for the tourists in the lean periods. It should be a combination package with airlines and hotels offering cuts in the prices. This will help attract tourists in lean periods and enable the growth momentum to continue. Tourism is one of the sectors which has tremendous potential and giving value to the industry is important.

The awards will play a major role in uplifting the industry standards and also recognising the talent. It is relative and the well-being of the industry will be assured. It is important to recognise good service and reward these institutions and individuals. Sri Lanka looks at tourism as the foremost industry in terms of generating foreign exchange. We need to ensure the safety of the tourists and give value for their money while also ensuring an enjoyable stay in the country, he said.

The services at the BIA need to be improved to woo more tourists. They need to be efficient as this is the first contact point when entering the country. Avoiding unnecessary delay is vital and we also need to provide proper and seamless connectivity. For this, local flights need to be in place and development of domestic airports need to be carried out to support the transportation of tourists in quick time, he said.

The tourism industry has seen a continuous growth in recent years with 19% year-on-year to 146,828 million in June 2017, following a 6.2 % rise in the previous month which symbolises the growth of the industry. Additionally, the increase in accommodation and value added services in tourism are contributing to the growth of the industry. It is the monumental efforts of the industry that have paved the way for such success.

The re-initiating of the tourism awards will help support recognition of individuals and organisations and it will also show the direction as to where we want the industry to go in. As there is a stiff competition in the industry, awards of this nature will enhance and elevate the standards to take on the global competition, Chairman, Panel of Judges, Sri Lanka Tourism Awards, Kishu Gomes said.

“The branding aspect of tourism will enable to achieve the desired objectives, quality and standards of the industry. The awards will be given based on merit and the right decisions will be made to assure the high standards of the industry is maintained which is a key growth factor in Sri Lanka,” he said.

The awards ceremony will be held on December 6 in Colombo.