Add industry professionals to Regulatory Boards – Harry J

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Veteran Businessman Harry Jayawardena reiterated the importance of private sector engagement in the policy making process, as it was a major stakeholder in economic activity, especially in the tourism sector.

As the Chairman of Aitken Spence Hotels, he said, “The regulator must engage the private sector in the policy making process as they are a key stakeholder in the industry; which is predominantly private sector driven.”

According to him, inclusion of industry association representatives to the regulatory Boards is vital in this process.

Positive signs of waning pandemic and high rates of vaccination have driven the recovery of the industry during the first four months, he said.

The change in traveller profiles need to be factored in as a trend going forward to increase the length of stay and boost the receipts from tourism, he said.

Sri Lanka needs to regain the growth momentum of the first quarter of 2022, as tourism can be a catalyst for its economic recovery with benefits quickly flowing to the communities, he said.

However, the tourism industry is now facing a new challenge, he said.

“As more markets open up, retaining trained employees will become a challenge as it has been a popular recruiting ground for the international hospitality sector,” he said.

Retaining key talent, competitive salaries in line with hospitality demands and economic conditions, and training and development is vital in maintaining high standards, he said.

By Mario Andree