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    Campaigns to attract 1.5 million tourists to Sri Lanka, Proposal to create cities that never sleep

    September 28, 2023

     

    Mrs. Diana Gamage, the Minister of State for Tourism announced plans to launch promotional campaigns aimed at attracting 1.5 million foreign tourists to Sri Lanka by the year’s end. She emphasized the government’s commitment to ensuring the safety of tourists and mentioned initiatives such as establishing taxi associations to enhance the visitor experience.

    Speaking at a press conference themed ‘Collective path to a stable country’ at the Presidential Media Centre  (27), Minister Diana Gamage also highlighted the transformation of high-tourist-traffic cities into vibrant, non-stop destinations.

    Mrs. Diana Gamage who further commented said:

    Today, we celebrate International Tourism Day and the Ministry of Tourism has orchestrated a graceful commemoration of this occasion. In conjunction with this special day, we have proudly introduced the ‘Jaya Sri Lanka’ award, which recognizes the exceptional culinary expertise of Dr. Pabilis Silva, a journey that took him from humble beginnings to the prestigious position of head chef at the Mount Lavinia Hotel. This award holds great significance, underscoring the importance of acknowledging the often-overlooked profession of chefs in our nation.

    In comparison to the previous year, we have witnessed a remarkable surge in tourist arrivals during the first nine months of this year, with approximately one million foreign visitors gracing our shores. We hold high expectations that this number will soar to 1.5 million by year-end, and accordingly, we have charted out plans for special promotional events to attract even more tourists.

    With the onset of winter in Europe just two months away, we anticipate a substantial influx of tourists during the final months of the year. Our aim is to draw a significant number of visitors from European countries, including England. Furthermore, we are actively working on enticing tourists from Middle Eastern nations, with an expected influx as early as next month. Our ministry is diligently planning tailored promotional campaigns to engage these markets effectively.

    Ensuring the convenience and satisfaction of tourists is paramount. Particularly in popular destinations like Ella, Nuwara Eliya, Galle and Colombo, we are committed to providing essential night-time facilities to cater to their needs. We also aspire to transform tourist-centric cities into vibrant, 24/7 hubs by revising certain regulations to facilitate tourist spending. Our goal is to create an environment where tourists are encouraged to contribute to our nation’s economic growth.

    Moreover, our responsibility extends to the safety of tourists. To address this, stringent legal actions will be taken against local businesses engaging in unfair and illegal pricing practices targeting tourists. We encourage foreign visitors to act as if they plan to return to our country, fostering a positive and respectful atmosphere.

    Additionally, we are in the process of establishing taxi associations to enhance the convenience and safety of tourists, thus curbing illegal activities. The Ministry of Tourism is fully dedicated to this cause and has placed it under its special attention.

    The cabinet has granted approval for the hemp cultivation proposal, aimed at bolstering the country’s foreign exchange reserves.

    Consequently, it is anticipated that the corresponding official gazette notification will be issued within the next two weeks.

    This initiative is not merely intended to generate revenue in rupees but rather to establish a framework that generates income in dollars. To achieve this goal, the establishment of an authoritative body is envisaged, operating within investment promotion zones under a comprehensive regulatory framework.

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