Tourism industry worth over $ 6 b; No. 1 sector in the country

‘Sancharaka Udawa’ 2015 presented by the Sri Lanka Association of Inbound Tour Operators (SLAITO) that annually showcases stakeholders of the tourism industry under one roof was launched at the Sri Lanka Tourist Board under the patronage of Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau Chairman Rohantha Athukorala.

An exhibition that started with just 60 stalls some years ago today exceeds 200 in number from hotel properties, hotel suppliers, guides associations, three wheelers, travel organisations, guides and tour operators, including the handicrafts industry, which explains the development of the industry, commented SLAITO President Mahen Kariyawasam.

Sri Lanka’s tourism industry can be valued at around six billion dollars in revenue to Sri Lanka’s economy, beating apparel which is around $ 5 b, rubber at $ 3 b, tea at $ 1.7 b and Ceylon Cinnamon and IT/BPO sectors, said Athukorala, who previously served the Sri Lanka Export Development Board as Chairman and Board Director for over six years before being picked to serve the United Nations (UN).

If one takes the net proceeds of around two billion dollars, it is not the actual reflection of the industry. One must sketch the industry as a value chain and then compute the different components to arrive at the real contribution of this sector, said Athukorala.

“To be specific, these components includes the taxi companies, tour operators, hotel stays, purchases of goods and services, which includes the handicrafts industry whilst in the country,” said Athukorala. “This will enable the industry to have a greater share of voice when it comes to the annual budget discussions with policymakers.”

Athukorala added: “One industry veteran commented that we can add another two to three billion dollars as most of the remittances of those working abroad in hotels and service industry were trained by the tourism industry of Sri Lanka. This is an interesting dimension that ‘Sancharaka Udawa’ has revealed to Sri Lanka other than just sector-led cross-functional business opportunities.”

While congratulating SLAITO for staging ‘Sancharaka Udawa’ for the fifth consecutive year, Athukorala emphasised that the total value chain must be carefully mapped so that the contribution to the economy could be quantified whilst looking at the improvements that could be staged so that it would enable the industry to be showcased as the biggest contributor to the Sri Lanka’s economy.

“No one has done it and it’s time to take stock,” the SLTPB Chairman asserted.

[ Via Ft.lk ]

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