Private sector tourism stakeholders commit to UNWTO ethics code


By Shiran Illanperuma

Private sector stakeholders in Sri Lanka’s burgeoning tourism industry yesterdays signed on to the United Nation as World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) Global Code of Ethics for Tourism during the closing stages of a UNWTO conference held in Passikudah.

Signatories to this commitment included high-ranking private sector figures such as Aitken Spence Hotel Holdings PLC Chairperson Stasshani Jayawardena, Lanka Hotels and Travels Group General Manager Nilantha Rupasinghe, Laughs Leisure Ltd. CEO Roshan Perera, Siddhalepa Ayurveda Health Resort Senior Marketing Manager Ushan Edirisinghe and Theme Resorts and Spas Chairman Chandra Wickramasinghe.

The UNWTO Global Code of Ethics for Tourism was developed in 1999 and contains 10 articles broadly relating to peace, inclusivity and sustainable development. The Code is not legally binding however it features a ‘voluntary implementation mechanism’ through which stakeholders may file concerns regarding the application and interpretation of the document.

As the two-day conference titled ‘Tourism: A Catalyst for Development, Peace and Reconciliation’ came to a close, Sri Lankan Tourism Development Authority Chairman Paddy Withana delivered a speech in which he thanked the UNWTO for their support in organising the event.

Said Withana, “By getting the publicity of an international conference in Passikudah we are going to give Sri Lankan tourism a boost. There will be a higher demand, leading to more employment and sustainable development in the area.”

“As Chairman my intention is that the benefits of tourism should filter down to the community. Otherwise there will be a major conflict with the community. The current Government is looking at tourism as a thrust industry to develop the economy through employment and production,” he added.

Though the formal conference has concluded international delegates will be taken on technical tours to Trincomalee and Jaffna today to visit a range of attractions including temples, kovils and hotels.

Pix by Gitika Talukdar

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