Oct 24, 2018 (LBO) – Sri Lanka should make Lonely Planet’s appreciation as a starting point to double the revenue from tourism, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said.
Delivering a special statement to the media on Wednesday, the premier said tourism has received a principal place in the country’s export economy since it can be one of the fastest foreign exchange earners.
“The Lonely Planet has named Sri Lanka as the Top Destination for 2019. I must first and foremost express our satisfaction and our delight in being so-named,” he said.
“This is a result of a policy we have followed from 2015, of giving prominence to tourism, of developing tourism – that today we have come into this category of being the top tourist destination,”
“We have to maintain this, we cannot be satisfied with one destination award; it is only a start. We have to look at the shortcomings in our tourist system (there are many), and we have to overcome them,”
“We have to ensure that we plan for the future; that we cater for backpackers as well as high spending tourists.”
According to Wickremesinghe what matters to Sri Lanka first and foremost is a high income from tourists, not merely the numbers.
Today Sri Lanka is a destination for people from Japan, China, India, and into Europe.
“We have to increase the numbers coming into the country. We have to safeguard our historical monuments, we must safeguard our natural wildlife, and we have to add more attractions,” Wickremesinghe said.
Tourism today concerns a large number of people, not merely large hoteliers but all those who have homestay accommodations, small shops, and small restaurants.
Wickremesinghe said the country should widen and increase the numbers participating and benefitting in tourism.
“Let us make this award, for us, a starting point to go to a higher level of tourism. Let us make it the starting point to double the revenue that we have from tourism.”