Expert's Opinion: Chalaka Gajabahu of Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau on the vital partnership between industries

Article published at: Jun 26, 2024 Article tag: know-how
Expert's Opinion: Chalaka Gajabahu of Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau on the vital partnership between industries
All Hoteliers Circle Editorial

Hospitality and tourism stakeholders collaboration fosters a seamless and memorable travel experience, encouraging repeat visits and positive word-of-mouth. Moreover, pooling resources and expertise allows for more effective problem-solving and innovation, ensuring the destination remains competitive and attractive in a rapidly evolving market.

Today, we asked Chalaka Gajabahu, Chairman of Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau to share his insights on the importance of partnerships between the industries.

Sri Lanka tourism

HC: How can tourism boards and hotels collaborate together in order to successfully promote a destination and achieve results beneficial for both industries?

CG: "Sri Lanka Tourism is the National Tourism Organization initially established under Ceylon Tourist Board Act No. 10 of 1966 with the objective of developing Tourism in a more planned and systematic manner in Sri Lanka. After identifying the need to set up an institutional framework, by the Act No 38 of 2005 there were four Organizations such as Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA), Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB), Sri Lanka Institute of Tourism and Hotel Management ( SLITHM ) and Sri Lanka Convention Bureau (SLCB) were established in 2007. While SLTDA acts as the regulatory body of the Tourism Industry, SLTPB is the promotional arm responsible for destination marketing.

The Accommodation sector in the country ranges from the star class hotels to Guest Houses, Rest Houses, Heritage Bunglows, Home stays, Eco Lodges, Boutiques & Villas etc. Currently There are around 53,230 such accommodation units registered and licensed under the SLTDA to cater to local and foreign guests. Each of these accommodation units are required to pay a Tourism Development Levy (TDL) of 1% of their net income annually to the SLTDA which will be utilized for tourism development and promotional work by the afore mentioned four tourism institutes which directly come under the purview of the Ministry of Tourism and Land. The majority of the income is generated from the Hotel sector." 

Sri Lanka tourism

"Sri Lanka Tourism is having a very close relation with the hotel industry in Sri Lanka. Being  registered with SLTDA, hotels have the privilege in getting any benefit offered by the government, related to the hotel industry. This will include tax concessions, moratoriums on  loan repayments, recommendations for resident visa for foreign staff etc. Further the hotel industry could take part at tourism travel shows , road shows and other events organized by SLTPB overseas.   This will create a platform for them to directly contact Travel partners in respective markets to promote their properties.  

By collaborating with Sri Lanka Tourism, these hotels will get the maximum publicity by hosting Foreign Media/Journalists, Travel Bloggers/Vloggers, Celebrities etc. who will promote the destination as well as the unique industrial properties. 

The Hotel industry plays  a major role in creating employment opportunities specially to the Youth sector contributing towards earning foreign exchange earnings for the economic development of the country. 

Over the years, several Sri Lankan Hotels have won prestigious awards for their unique hospitality and efficient service. Similarly, Sri Lanka Tourism has received many accolades as a destination from various International publications. Therefore this joint collaboration with Hotel industry and Sri Lanka Tourism will bring more revenue and recognition to Sri Lanka as a Travel Destination, renowned for its warmth and Hospitality."

Photo credits: Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau