Thursday, May 30, 2024

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Tourism sector gets a wave off from annual registration

The Government has decided to waive off the annual registration fee of all tourist establishments and individuals listed under the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) for this year, extending

Tourism Minister Prasanna Ranatunga said the number of registered accommodation providers has increased by 39%, while the registration in the service providing entities have increased by 26% compared to 2019.

Pointing out that the Government had to face many difficulties in granting relief provided to the stakeholders as many were not registered with SLTDA, he said steps have been taken to expedite the registration of tourism establishments and service providers this year.

As of 30 June 2021, the total establishments registered with  SLTDA was at 5,821, comprising 3,686 accommodation sector entities and 2,135 in the service sector. 

The Minister said that the authorities have been instructed to expedite the registration of tourist hotels, service providers, guides and drivers. 

According to the Tourism Act, all tourist establishments and individuals engaged in the sector are required to register with the SLTDA, but many of them are still not adhering to the law.

In this backdrop, the SLTDA has made it mandatory to allow only licensed tour guides for services.

The SLTDA has informed all tour operators that it will take legal action against companies that assign unregistered and unlicensed tour guides to international travellers. Investigations are being carried out by the Tourist Police.

In August 2021, Sri Lanka Tourism launched a drive to register informal sector operators with the help of iconic cricketer Kumar Sangakkara.

The key objective of the initiative was to absorb the informal sector tourism services and establishments to the SLTDA registration process. 

A unique video featuring Sangakkara with a core message: “Come, together let’s rebuild the industry we all love!.”

Currently, around 5,000 tour guides are registered with the SLTDA and of that 1,680 are national guides, 1,388 driving guides, 1,667 regional guides and 98 local guides. All the guides have obtained the relevant licenses after formal training.

Meanwhile, the first week of February received 22,412 tourists, pushing the cumulative figure to 104,739. Arrivals were led by Russian travellers, followed by India and the UK.

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