Sri Lanka’s tourism sector has been put through a set of challenges since 2019, followed by the prolonged effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, and as of late, the economic crisis. The effects of these crises have revealed a variety of challenges that continue to worsen the adversity of the most defenseless populations that engage in the tourism industry.

Putting people first, the Ministry of Tourism and the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Sri Lanka with financial help from the European Union (EU) in Sri Lanka has been assisting the tourism sector through the ‘Transforming Tourism in Sri Lanka: Emerging from the crisis as strong, resurgent and rebranded industry’ project which has been in progress for the past year. The project’s main focus is on structuring a transformed, competitive, and adaptable tourism sector, with necessary policies and institutional capacities to offer distinctive and sustainable tourism encounters.

With worldwide and local calls for po9pularising sustainability principles in all the aspects of the tourism sector, SLTDA, with the help of UNDP in Sri Lanka’s BIOFIN program, set up a Sustainability Unit, marking a step ahead toward green development in the tourism sector. This morning, with the participation of Ms. Malin Herwig, Office in Charge, UNDP in Sri Lanka, and Mr. Edoardo Spacca, Deputy Head of Cooperation, the EU Delegation to Sri Lanka, equipment was presented to Mr. Priantha Fernando, Chairman, SLTDA for the Sustainability Unit, and to Ms. Anuri Tilakaratne, Provincial Director – Department of Trade, Commerce and Tourism – Central Province, together with Mr. Kumar Joseph De Silva, Chief Technical Advisor – Tourism, UNDP in Sri Lanka to further assist their activities.

Two Carrying Capacity Studies and the Value Chain Studies held for Sigiriya and Knuckles-Riverston were also handed over at the meeting to Hon. Harin Fernando, Minister of Tourism and Lands. Noteworthy participants included Mr. W. A. Chulananda Perera, Secretary to the Ministry of Tourism and Lands, Mr. Upali Rathnayake, Director – Domestic Tourism and Community Relations, SLTDA, and senior officials of the Ministry.

Photo Captions – Image 1 – Handover of equipment to SLTDA and the Central Province Tourism Department, and presenting studies on Sigiriya and Knuckles-Riverston.

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