SriLankan Airlines official to head Tourism Promotion Bureau?
a year ago
- Harin proposed an airline official, says Darshana Cabral Wants same chairperson for Airlines and SLTPB Suggests separate chairpersons for all 4 tourism bodiesBy Imsha Iqbal An official from the state-owned national carrier SriLankan Airlines is tipped to be appointed Chairperson of the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB) after the recent resignation of Kimarli Fernando from the chairmanship of all four national tourism bodies, tourism industry sources told The Morning Business. Speaking to The Morning Business yesterday (30), industry veteran Darshana Cabral stated that Minister of Tourism Harin Fernando suggested that an official from the SriLankan Airlines be appointed as the SLTPB Chairperson, since both the airlines and the bureau have to work “hand-in-hand” to promote the tourism industry. However, our attempts to reach Fernando for confirmation on this matter, both yesterday (30) and on Sunday (29), proved futile. According to Cabral’s personal opinion, SriLankan Airlines works “very well” with SLTPB, as the airline is the national flagship carrier. Therefore, having the SLTPB work together with SriLankan Airlines under the same leadership would be an advantage to the crisis-hit island, he added. “Due to some reasons, there are internal conflicts between the national carrier and the SLTPB, which I do not want to divulge, and the two did not work hand in hand this far. Nevertheless, as a result of this conflict, the destination has suffered. As the State body for tourism promotions, SLTPB is supposed to work hand in hand with SriLankan; only then could we ensure better results,” elaborated Cabral. He thus personally agreed with the suggestion that one chairperson be appointed to carry out the operations between SLTPB and SriLankan. As a stakeholder of the industry, Cabral believes it is a “great idea at a time like this”, and they are looking forward to an improvement over the existing circumstances of the industry through this move. Cabral added that instead of appointing a single chairperson to all four tourism bodies – as had been the case during Kimarli Fernando’s tenure – these institutions should be headed by separate chairpersons. He said that this separation would ensure easy operation and effective communication between State tourism entities, pointing out that the SLTPB’s main focus is on tourism promotions, while the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) is required to handle the formalities of developing the industry. Cabral personally suggested appointing an industry veteran who would look forward to working with SriLankan as well as the SLTPB for the betterment of the country. Former SLTDA Chairperson Kimarli Fernando rendered her immediate resignation last Tuesday (24), after having served in the position since December 2019, while thanking the airlines, funding agencies, and embassies in Sri Lanka who maintained partnerships with Sri Lanka tourism.