Travel News Update: Sri Lanka Tourism needs to make more efficient use of the CESS fund, and this would be a key focus area, said Arundika Fernando, new Minister of State for Tourism Promotion.
He said that several billion is added to tourism every year through embarkation levy, hotel levies and other forms, these are not used properly and once RS 1.5 billion has been returned to the treasury.
This should not be the case and 70% of this should be used to promote tourism. He was also very upset by the way the promotion budget was spent on promotions in London, the minister said. “They weren’t properly focused and unproductive.” For the London Taxi and Tube (Rail) station ads, the much-needed exposure wasn’t there and it was a waste of money.
“I’m also not pleased with the CNN marketing campaign because I haven’t seen a good coverage of it and I like to see more concentrated and qualified marketing campaigns for destinations in the future.” Fernando said one of the worst incidents that dampened the tourism industry was the Easter Sunday blasts that might have been prevented.
The much-promised debt moratorium with banks was limited by the previous government only to words and not practice. “We want to reactivate this program and we’re going to talk to the banks and applicants again and have a look at this process.” Sri Lankan Tourism should also provide more support and encouragement for eco-friendly tourism related investment.