The long delayed implementation of the new Tourism Act No. 38 of 2005 was enthusiastically and warmly welcomed by private sector stake holders in the industry as a most timely piece of legislation which could foster public-private sector cooperation and collaboration in the industry.
The Act which will come into operation from Oct. 1, 2007, in terms of the gazette notification of August 23, 2007, provides for the establishment of the Tourism Development Authority, the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau and the Sri Lanka Institute of Tourism and Hotel Management in an effort to rejuvenate the country`s tourism industry which is currently witnessing lean times in the wake of an unstable security climate.
`This is a timely piece of legislation which would enable the private sector to work closely with the Tourism Development Authority to develop the tourism industry,` Deputy Chairman, Jetwing Hotels Ltd, Hiran Cooray said. `It would give us an opportunity to look after our interests effectively,` he explained.
`The Act provides for the official involvement of the private sector in the development of tourism and ensures its participation in product development, marketing and education and training,` Cooray added.
`In fact, we could now have a greater say in the development of the sector. This Act is the culmination of a long drawn campaign by us which didn`t draw any results. However, when Minister Milinda Moragoda took over he promised to introduce the Act in 12 months but has done so, creditably, within six months,` Cooray said. He said that it was the intention of the Minister to bring all stake holders together for the development of tourism.
Group Director, Hem Tours (Pte) Ltd, Abbas Esufally said he was delighted the Act was passed so quickly. The current Act, he said is 40 years old and needed revising. `With the new Act public and private sector collaboration in the development of tourism is greatly assured. The promotion, marketing and administrative aspects will be well looked after,` Esufally said.
There are more than 900,000 dependent on tourism in this country and we see this Act as promoting their interests, particularly those of small stake holders and small niche markets,` Esufally explained.