Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe met stakeholders in the tourism sector at his office yesterday (14).
The Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) said, it expects to attract around 800,000 tourists for the rest of the year, with estimated revenue of US$ 800 million.
The Prime Minister instructed officials to prepare a plan to attract tourists from India for the next six months. He also requested relevant authorities to make arrangements for the resumption of operations at Jaffna International Airport.
With Sri Lanka targeting around 2.5 million tourists by 2025 with expected revenue of US$ 3.5 billion, the Prime Minister urged all stakeholders to formulate long-term plans to attract around 1.5 million high-level tourists.
The Prime Minister also instructed relevant stakeholders to engage in youth awareness programmes, as many employees in the hospitality sector have already left for other countries and the number of new recruits to hotel schools has plummeted.
The Prime Minister also discussed the possibilities of organising cultural festivals which will provide a unique opportunity to create new employment opportunities and allow tourists to immerse themselves in local culture.
He urged public sector tourism officials to work towards improving the Galle Literary Festival to attract more authors and literary lovers from all over the world.
Meanwhile, Minister of Tourism Harin Fernando said, he had held discussions with the diplomatic community to urge the relevant countries to lift the existing tourism restrictions on Sri Lanka. He added that promotional shows with local and international celebrities are planned to attract foreign tourists, with a focus on Indian tourists.
Representatives of the Ministry of Tourism, Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority, Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Board, Sri Lanka Hotel Management and Tourism Institute, Sri Lanka Hotel Association, Sri Lanka Association of Internal Tour Activists, Ceylon Hotel School Graduates Association, Sri Lanka Professional Seminars and Festivals, The Association of Organisers and the Small and Medium Enterprises Division participated in this discussion.