The Finance Minister has agreed not to impose any taxes any further on the Tourism Industry, disclosed Tourism Minister. And the government will also explore the possibility to provide duty free concessions in the direction of refurbishment of old hotels.
The minister also stated to media that he instructed to Sri Lanka Institute of Tourism & Hotel Management to double up the intake of students and train them to cater to the increase of rooms by 45,000. And increase the emoluments of his staff in order to absorb quality staff even from abroad.
Hoteliers must help to fill in the void by coming up with their own training programmes to get out of this difficulty, the Minister insisted. “In house training is what matters not at the classroom. That is where you can come in and contribute to the development of trained staff in the hotel industry,” the Minister cautioned.
He further state that there were new trends in tourism with the development of religious tourism, agriculture tourism and medical tourism in which Sri Lanka can make inroads. The Minister said a foreign company had expressed their willingness to fund a huge convention center in Sri Lanka which could host 5,000 delegates. He said the Japanese were going to take over the entire development of Trincomalee and in Hambantota, the Chinese are asking for 15,000 acres to set up their enterprises.
By 2020 the Tourist Industry could be able to bring the highest amount of foreign exchange to Sri Lanka.