(LANKAPUVATH | COLOMBO) –Basil Rajapaksa, Minister of Finance has agreed to provide US$ 56 million in the second quarter of this year for a global tourism promotion program aimed at attracting more tourists to Sri Lanka.
The agreement was reached during a discussion chaired by the Finance Minister on the tourism industry Monday (21), Tourism Minister Prasanna Ranatunga said.
Tourist arrivals, revenue, forecasts, promotions as well as future plans and issues were also discussed at the meeting.
So far this year, more than 150,000 tourists have visited Sri Lanka. The first 21 days of February saw 73,000 tourist arrivals.
The Minister of Finance has instructed to pay special attention to attract more tourists from the Middle East in the next few months. He pointed out that a targeted program should be implemented.
The Minister of Finance also agreed to provide the required amount of US $ 56 million for the Global Promotion Program in the second quarter of this year. The Cabinet approved the implementation of the five-year global promotion program targeting the country’s major tourism markets last year.
It is planned to be operational from the second quarter of this year. Preliminary work has already been done. Work is underway to appoint a Management Unit for promotional programs, a Creative Agency and a Digital Agency for this promotion.
The promotion program will cover 16 countries including the United Kingdom, Germany, India, China, Australia, Russia, the Middle East, the United States, Japan, Korea, Spain and Scandinavia. Public relations firms are expected to be appointed before the end of the first quarter of this year.
Attention was drawn at length to issues such as issuing credit for foreign currency transactions to travel service providers, the methodology for issuing visas to tourists visiting Sri Lanka and providing relief to those engaged in the tourism industry.
In addition to the global tourism promotion program, the Tourism Promotion Bureau has been instructed to immediately implement special promotion programs for a number of other countries that could attract tourists to Sri Lanka, said Minister Prasanna Ranatunga. He also says that more attention is being paid to attracting tourists, especially in groups.
Sri Lanka first launched a Global Tourism Promotion Program when Basil Rajapaksa was the Minister of Economic Development in charge of Tourism. The Minister pointed out that such a global tourism promotion program had not been implemented since then and that this global tourism program was resumed after 2012.