Tourist arrivals to Sri Lanka has increased over the past few months; in June by 8.1%, in August 34.3%, and in October 7.0%. Requests to invest in tourism projects have also increased tremendously. H.E. the President has declared 2011 the “Visit Sri Lanka Year” and set a target of 2.5 million tourist arrivals by 2016.
With this in mind, the Board of Management of the SLTDA decided to prepare a 10-year Tourism Master Plan (2011-2020) to ensure the preservation of Sri Lanka’s resources while meeting the needs of tourists. The Master Plan will identify tourist generating markets, demand for accessibility, and diverse types of tourism product development and human resource development.
As the first step, the UNWTO assisted the SLTDA in preparing the terms of reference for a consultant to undertake the 10-year plan. Subsequently, Mr. John Yacoumis, consultant for UNWTO, was appointed and from November 16th – 26th undertook the necessary field work in Sri Lanka, which included discussions with Government and private sector individuals. In addition, Dr. H. Varma, Director/Development Assistant – UNWTO, was also in Sri Lanka (November 17th – 19th) to discuss relevant matters with the Ministry of Tourism, External Resources Department, and the UNDP.