Tourism Ministry working to convene regional tourism conference
a year ago
25th meeting of ASEAN tourism ministers to formulate joint tourism action plan amidst Covid-19
By Dinitha RathnayakeSteps are being taken to convene the 25th meeting of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) tourism ministers, according to the Tourism Ministry.The decision in this regard was taken at a meeting between Bangladeshi High Commissioner to Sri Lanka Taregmd Ariful Islam and Tourism Minister Prasanna Ranatunga last Friday (29 October), held at the Ministry of Tourism premises.The aim of this regional meeting will be to formulate a joint action plan between countries in the Asian region to revive the tourism industry, which was devastated by the Covid-19 pandemic.The Bangladeshi High Commissioner also said that a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on tourism is expected to be signed between the two countries. This MoU had been decided upon during Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa’s official visit to Bangladesh last March, the Bangladeshi High Commissioner noted, adding that the MoU has been drafted and is expected to be signed soon.Both sides are also considering launching a cruise service between Colombo and Dhaka, Bangladesh. Accordingly, it was decided to take action in this regard in the future.The High Commissioner pointed out that the assistance of those involved in the tourism industry in Sri Lanka is essential for the revival of the tourism industry in Bangladesh, and requested the Minister to assist in that endeavour. Minister Prasanna Ranatunga said that Sri Lanka was ready to come forward at any time to provide assistance.SriLankan Airlines currently operates direct flights between Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, and a private airline from Bangladesh is set to launch direct flights to Sri Lanka, the High Commissioner added. It was also emphasised that tourism based on the Buddhist civilisation, mangroves, and coastal tourism could be promoted among tourists from both countries.Ranatunga said that more attention should be paid to uplift the tourism industry in the South Asian region through regional conferences such as BIMSTEC and SAARC. He also said that a joint tourism action plan should be implemented in these countries through a conference of tourism ministers of South Asian countries.