Sri Lanka film regulations may block positive coverage needed to boost tourism

June 11, 2007 (LBO) – Earlier this year, a foreign television crew working for the Travel Channel in London arrived in the country to do a documentary on the tourism hotspots. Travel Channel’s first priority was to visit and film the Dutch Galle fort in the southern coastal region of Sri Lanka.

Then their troubles started.

Intimidated

Trying to shoot a boutique hotel at the Galle Fort, a group of officials suddenly converged on the crew and said they needed a permit from the Archaeological Department, which would cost 50,000 rupees to film the area.

Before coming to the country the Travel Channel producers who also wanted to document other historic areas like the rock fortress in Sigiriya had spent two and a half months completing the arduous paperwork to get ‘permission’ from Sri Lankan authorities.

Prepared for one week’s filming, the crew came to Sri Lanka feeling confident, thinking that the Tourist Board had arranged all their paperwork.

“We did not know we needed another permit, Amanda Hudson of the Travel Channel told LBO over the phone at the time.

The tourist industry badly needs some good news to get out of the cou