Business

New Tourism Act in 2021: Tourism authorities to be merged

  • SLTDA, SLTPB, and SLCB to be amalgamated next year

By Zahida Rizvi

 

Sri Lanka is set to enact a new Tourism Act next year which would merge Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA), Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB) and the Sri Lanka Convention Bureau (SLCB). 

Speaking to The Morning Business, SLTDA DG Dhammika Wijesinghe said that there are various segments that are involved in duplicating tasks in the tourism industry. 

“The existing law would be repealed to reduce duplicated tasks and to amend the diluted authority powers and enforcement abilities in the 2005 Tourism Act in order to take legal actions,” Wijesinghe stated. 

The cabinet of ministers granted approval to the proposal laid out by the Minister of Tourism to repeal the Tourism Act No 38 of 2005 and draft a bill to enact a new Tourism Act, this week. 

Wijesinghe further pointed out that following the cabinet approval the board is currently engaged with the legal draftsman consultant to draft this document with the input from the industry and the employees. 

“As the first draft is finalised it will be released for public comments and consultation with the industry thereafter it will be submitted to the legal draftsman department to analyse the issues. After that it will be checked by the Attorney general’s department and finally submitted to the cabinet”, she added. 

In the 2021 budget presentation in parliament Premier Mahinda Rajapaksa, announced that the government planned to bring four existing institutions relating to tourism under a proposed Tourism Promotion Authority. 

However, Sri Lanka Association of Inbound Tour Operators (SLAITO) claimed in a statement that there is no necessity to change the Act which has resulted in the betterment of the tourism industry. 

The 2005 law was formed with an effective marketing strategy under a private-public partnership, with SLAITO, THASL and the Travel Agents Association of Sri Lanka identified as the three apex bodies.