Sri Lanka diplomats to plug tourism

July 3, 2011 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s diplomats will promote the country abroad in the future and the state tourism promotion office will gradually sever links with private public relations firms, deputy economic development minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardene said. “The government has decided do slowly distance ourselves from private public relations firms,” Abeywardene told reporters.

“After distancing ourselves we will set up separate units under our embassies. The reason was that when the promotional authority and PR agencies did activities the embassies did not know about it.

“So everything has to be monitored by embassies. Promotional activities should be done under one roof by embassies.”

Sri Lanka has two agencies looking at tourism, the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority, which looks issues such as policy and infrastructure, Sri Lanka Tourist Promotion Bureau is in charge of promotion.

Abeywardene said Sri Lanka’s ambassador in Russia is going to recruit Russian speaking staff for which money will be given by tourism authorities. He said the money given will be measured against actual increases in arrivals.

“We do not need intensive promotion at the moment due to the current availability of rooms,” Abeywardene said.

“We