Colombo – The first ever Presidential Awards for Travel and Tourism will take place on 28th January at the Presidential Secretariat and President Mahinda Rajapakse is schedule to make the presentations.
The event is organized by the Sri Lanka Tourism Authority and Dialog Telekom are the sponsors.
The awards are made in order to recognize the contributions made to the tourism industry by persons and institutions. The event will feature special award categories for tourism legends and pioneers through which significant contributions made by leaders in the industry in the past will be recognized. Other categories of awards include airlines, hotels, tour operations, tour guiding, communication organizations, corporate social responsibility efforts and local tourism initiatives.
At the Press Conference to announce the Tourism Awards Ceremony, Renton de Alwis, Chairman, Sri Lanka Tourist Board said that for this event, no money would be spent by the government and said that it is a great encouragement to see the support from one of Sri Lanka’s leading corporate in promoting the image of Sri Lanka in the country and abroad. He said that in an age where Sri Lanka’s tourism sector needs to be nurtured Dialog Telecom’s partnership and support in this respect is commendable.
De Alwis said that 60 percent of al the enterprises providing tourist services are out of the licensing framework while most of the formal sector is within the process. Under the new Tourism Development Act the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority will have to ensure that all persons and institutions providing tourist services should have licenses. In this process De Alwis said that that small and medium sector could be supported.
He said that media should have to be cautious when using nomenclature with regard to the issue of travel advisories etc by various countries with regard to travel to Sri Lanka. He said that there are three types of such notices issues by countries about traveling to other countries by their citizens. The first is the travel advisory that is commonly issued in such instances as inclement weather, conflict in different areas in the country and contagious diseases etc.
The second is warning which is little harder than the first and the third is ban which is more dangerous. De Alwis said “I would like to urge to use words carefully as it would give signals to international community and it would in turn affect the travel industry here in Sri Lanka”.
Nushad Perera, CEO, Dialog, said that the Presidential Awards for Travel and Tourism 2007 is an opportunity for small and large players in the industry to showcase their strengths and also for the entire tourism industry to showcase Sri Lanka as one of the most lucrative tourist destinations in the world.