Sri Lanka Tourism to pump Rs 800 mn for promotions

Minister John Amaratunge, Sri Lanka Tourism Chairman Paddy Withana and  Director General Malraj Kiriella. Picture by Samantha Weerasiri


Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB) will spend over Rs 800 million for its promotional campaign for 2016 and 2017, Sri Lanka Tourism Promotions Bureau Chairman Paddy Withana said.

He said that they will call for international and local tenders and transparency will be maintained when suitable agencies are selected to carry out this program.“There would be greater focus on social and digital marketing.”The Chairman admitted that there was a delay but it would be now put right.

Tourism Development and Christian Religious Affairs Minister John Amaratunge said the delay in this was because there was corruption when the previous management was handling this area.

The Daily News Business’ learns that advertising contracts to the value of over Rs. 300 million was awarded to a local company without going through proper channels through the then Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau management in 2015. The budget for this promotion themed “Peaceful destination” was estimated to be around Rs. 3.4 billion.

A key decision making official in charge of promotions was overseas almost every month for so called promotions, but despite his high spending costs, arrivals fell far below the target.

The Minister said yesterday that they want to stop this kind if expenses and this was the delay.

Amaratunge said they are now keen to promote both North and East since these two provinces were shut out due to the conflict.

This is the reason why we decided to host the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), “Tourism: Passport to Peace” conference from July 11 to 14 in Amaya Beach Resort, Passikudah. Minister Amaratunge said this is also the first time that an event of this magnitude is being held in the Eastern Province and augurs well for the renaissance of the tourism industry in the north and east.

A highlight of the conference will be the ceremonial presentation of an Open Letter by the UNWTO and World Travel and Tourism Council to President Maithripala Sirisena,Sri Lanka Tourism Director General Malraj Kiriella said. The conference will also discuss local community involvement and “peace sensitive tourism” with the purpose of creating a sense of inclusiveness of the local communities through the greater participation of foreign tourists in socio-cultural activities. As part of the programme the delegates are scheduled to tour Trincomalee and Jaffna to obtain a first-hand experience of these tourism hubs in the east and north respectively.

World Tourism Organization is the United Nation’s specialized agency mandated with the promotion of responsible, sustainable and universally accessible tourism.

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