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Government targets Rs.7 bn in revenue, 600,000 jobs from tourism by 2020

Action-oriented Tourism Strategic Plan implemented  

Tourism Development Authority Chairman Kavan Ratnayaka said the government had set a target to double the country’s tourism revenues and employment opportunities by 2020.

Accordingly, the government expects to earn Rs.7 billion while creating 600,000 jobs in three years.

Addressing the World Tourism Day event in Colombo yesterday, Ratnayaka said the government had developed Tourism Vision document looking forward to 2025, and an action-oriented Tourism Strategic Plan 2017-2020, for the next three and a half years.

“These visions and plans were developed not just by government agencies, but with complete stakeholder involvement,” Ratnayaka explained.

He said to execute this plan, the Tourism Development Authority needed support and commitment from many parties.

“At least 20 different government agencies will have to work collaboratively to deliver the plan. It’s going to be a lot of work, a lot of patience and also a lot of fun! To lead us we have a focused and fun loving Minister and a highly rated Ministry Secretary. And a key and able partner is going to be the Chairman of the Tourism Promotions Bureau,” he added.

“It is estimated that this year 2017 more than 2.5 million people will leave their home countries and come to Sri Lanka to follow their dream of visiting an interesting and exciting destination.”

“A majority of these tourists will return to their homes with an enriched understanding of our people and with fond memories that will bind us to them for the rest of their lives. They will be ambassadors for Sri Lanka and promote us at every turn. Twenty years from now a Sri Lankan travelling through China or a Sri Lankan doing business in Africa will benefit from the relationships being built today through tourism.There is no way to truly quantify and estimate the power of this industry.

Ratnayaka said tourism revenues this year should exceed US$ 3.5 million with 300,000 Sri Lankans having jobs associated with the industry.

“The leaders of the government want sustainable employment with higher skills and better salaries for our people. They want us to bring back our people who work in other countries by paying them competitive salaries.”

The theme for World Tourism Day this year is Sustainable Tourism -A Tool for Development. The Chairman said it was fitting for Sri Lanka as the country had embarked on a journey to transform its tourism sector towards a sustainable and inclusive future.