Priority has now been given for the development of human resources in order to meet the needs of the growing tourism sector, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said.
The Premier was speaking at the second edition of the Cinnamon Future of Tourism Summit held yesterday at the Cinnamon Grand Hotel in Colombo.
The Prime Minister said that the tourism industry has changed a lot throughout the world and Asia is going to drive strong growth in global tourism.
“Asian economic development, which has taken place after 1970, as well as new information technology has resulted in tourism growth in the region. By about 2030, the Asia Pacific region will have 500 million tourists and 75 percent from the region,” he said.
The Premier further said that per capita income is increasing in all Asian countries. People who engage in the tourism industry have to face various challenges. Traditional tourism companies have been disrupted and this is one of challenges. There are many online operators today. A large number of boutique hotels and small accommodation facilities too have come up. Asia is going to be a centre of tourism, Premier Wickremesinghe said. Sri lanka’s strategic location is very helpful to boost the country’s tourism industry.
“We are in the middle of the Indian Ocean, next door to India and close to the Middle East, Pakistan, Bangladesh and South East Asia. Just six hours away from China, Japan and East Asia. People would like to travel more to East Africa for the beaches and islands.”
“We have one advantage and what matters most is connectivity. We have to develop our airports, ports and internal transport system to work on that connectivity.”
“In 2015, we had taken so much of debt that our revenue was insufficient for debt servicing. Today, despite the drought and the floods, we are able to get sufficient revenue to service our debts. Economic restructuring and the stabilization of the macroeconomy have given us strength to go ahead. We know we can utilize the infrastructure that we need.”
Infrastructure without economic development such as roads going nowhere, harbours without ships, airport without planes, is a dead loss, the Prime Minister said.
“The economy is sufficiently stable today. We are able to build houses and give pay increases. Public and private sectors have created 400,000 income opportunities. We are driving economic growth.
This means we are also in a position to repay our debts taken for infrastructure.”
Sources : dailynews