Sri Lanka looks at increased connectivity to boost tourism

Public and private sector tourism stakeholders last week identified 15 priority projects including increased connectivity to key markets aimed to boost and sustain tourism growth over the next three years.

The came at a full day workshop held at Temple Trees on Thursday to identify these priorities. It was organised by the Ministry of Policy Development and Economic Affairs.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, Tourism Development Minister John Amaratunga, and Deputy Tourism Minister, Arundika Fernando participated in the workshop which was conducted under the auspices of the Government’s Economic Delivery Programme, which aims to accelerate the delivery of Sri Lanka’s most important economic outcomes over the next three years, a Tourism Ministry media release said.

“These outcomes are: an increase in median income, private sector job creation, foreign and domestic investment, exports and government revenue. Under this programme, tourism has been selected as one of six areas for acceleration. The other areas are: agriculture, manufacturing, investment acceleration, digital economy and government revenue. The government has also set up a ‘Delivery Unit’ called the Central Programme Management Unit (CPMU), to support the implementation of the Economic Delivery Programme,” the release added.

More than 150 tourism industry representatives engaged in brain storming sessions coming from diverse sub-sectors within the travel and tourism industry, with both large and boutique, Sri Lankan and international players represented.

At the conclusion of the workshop a selection of the most impactful projects were presented to the Prime Minister and Minister of Tourism who will regularly review progress to ensure rapid and effective implementation. They are:

· Improve international air connectivity to priority markets (from 80 to 130 flights per day) through more direct flights, open skies policy, competitive landing and parking fees, incentivising low-cost airlines and smoother immigration and check-in procedures.

· Work with public and private stakeholders to create a ‘Colombo Calendar’ of events which tourists can access across multiple channels (e.g., pick up from hotels or in the airports, access online, get notifications over social media).

· Fast-track tailored destination marketing campaigns in the key source markets; initiate a digital marketing campaign in next 1-2 months, as a precursor to the upcoming global campaign.

Source : http://epaper.dailymirror.lk/epaper/viewer.aspx

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