SLTDA streamlines tourism investment approval process
Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) has made the tourism investment process easy by streamlining the project approval process and facilitation services provided by the Investor Relations Unit (IRU) - the unit established within the SLTDA as the centralised facilitation arm for tourism investments in the country.
The key objective of this effort is to provide a single point of contact for investors in the tourism sector and to provide an efficient, effective and hassle-free investment facilitation process for tourism investments.
In general, an investor in the tourism sector has to fill individual applications for several line agencies for approval of a tourism project. The number of agencies applicable for a tourism project is comparatively higher if the projects are located closer to a sensitive attraction. The process, therefore, becomes tedious, complex and time-consuming and as a result, incurs a considerable cost for the investor. This situation sometimes also encourages third party involvement which leads to corruption.
As a solution to this a centralised facilitation unit was established by SLTDA in late 2010. The IRU has approved 503 projects with a total value of US$ 3789.04 million during the past 10 years. The inter-agency collaboration was further strengthened recently with the continuous dialogue which resulted in bringing together all project approving government agencies to prepare one common application for tourism investments.
In addition, the approval processes of key approving agencies were mapped to spot duplications and delays due to unnecessary steps and multiple signatories. The process was thereby streamlined and as a result, the time taken to issue a preliminary clearance was reduced from 45 days to 25, a period which will hopefully become even shorter in the future.
Technical support for the above process was provided to SLTDA by USAID’s Supporting Accelerated Investment in Sri Lanka (SAIL) Project with a team of experts with international expertise and exposure.