Tourism advisory committee appointed | Sunday Observer

Tourism advisory committee appointed

8 November, 2020
Minister Prasanna Ranatunga with members of the Tourism Advisory Committee and Tourism authority officials
Minister Prasanna Ranatunga with members of the Tourism Advisory Committee and Tourism authority officials

Tourism Minister Prasanna Ranatunga has appointed a 11-member Advisory Committee under the provisions of the Tourism Act No. 38 of 2005 Section 32 (b) which comprises private sector stakeholders.

The inaugural meeting of the newly appointed Tourism Advisory committee was held at the Sri Lanka Institute of Tourism and Hotel Management (SLITHM) recently.

Industry veteran Hiran Cooray was elected as Chairman, while Ranjit de Silva was appointed as Secretary to the Committee and Nimesh Herath as the Coordinator.

Tourism Ministry Secretary S. Hettiarachchi, Sri Lanka Tourism Chairperson Kimarli Fernando, Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority Director General Dhammika Wijayasinghe were also present.

The members of the advisory committee comprise: Jetwing Symphony Chairman Hiran Cooray (Chairman), Connaissance De Ceylan Chairman Chandra Wickramasinghe, Shangri La Hotels Colombo Vice President Timothy Wright, Santani Wellness Resort Founder Vickum Nawagamuwa, SriLankan Airlines CEO Vipula Gunatilleka, Ceylon Hotels School Graduates Association Past President and Executive Committee Member Trevine Gomez, Daily FT Editor Nisthar Cassim, Expedia Area Manager Savi Godakanda, and EmarketingEye CEO Rajitha Dahanayake. Herath said that in deciding the composition of the Advisory Committee the importance of getting professionals from all key sectors of the industry was considered including the travel industry.

Some of the sectors of the modern tourism industry had been previously overlooked in the composition of the Committee, he said.

Minister Ranatunga said that tourism has been identified as a thrust sector in President Rajapaksa’s national strategy document “Vistas of Prosperity and Splendor” with a specific goal of achieving seven million tourists and $ 10 billion in foreign exchange in the medium to long-term. Given the on-going challenges he also stressed the importance of identifying alternative income methods for the people affected by the pandemic.

Minister Ranatunga requested the newly appointed Committee to draw up a framework and come up with a proposal to open the country for travel again initially through a travel bubble or travel corridor and in the short term finding alternate means of livelihood for those dependent on the tourism sector. Advisory Committee Chairman Cooray outlined the complex structure of the tourism industry which comprises various segments and pointed out that with all diverse views and needs, not all will have a united approach.

However, he said that the areas where the industry stands united are promotions and development at national level.