Despite the COVID-19 Pandemic and the downturn in tourism, the Sri Lanka Tourism sector attracted US$ 188.4 million investments for 29 projects in the last 18 months.
Minister Prasanna Ranatunga
These approved projects included cable car projects, floating restaurants, underwater art galleries and similar projects. Minister of Tourism Prasanna Ranatunga said that in addition even under the C-19 situation a further US$ 690 million tourism related investment projects have been submitted for approval. The number of projects received for approval were 54. “This proves that the investment sentiment for Sri Lanka is still active as the country attracted a total of nearly USD 880 million investments.”
“We are now focusing on speedily granting approvals for other projects and to meet this objective a new ‘Investment Relations Unit’ (IRU) to expedite investment in tourism has been set up.”
The Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority established IRU has been set up subsequent to taking into consideration the complexity of the procedure for approval of investments and the fact that there are many linear institutions.
Minister Ranatunga said that they observed that 43 government institutions are usually involved in the approval process and arrangements have been made to sign Memorandums of Understanding with these line Ministries and institutions. Accordingly, the Board of Investment, the Coast Conservation Department, the National Buildings Development Department, the Central Environment Authority, the Wildlife Department, the Forest Conservation Department, the Archaeological Department, the Agrarian Services Department and the Irrigation Department have signed relative MoUs. The Minister said that arrangements have been made to sign MoUs with other government institutions as well.
“This unit has been assigned the task of simplifying the procedure of granting approval for investments and to expedite it.”
More attention has been focused on expanding new investment opportunities in the field of tourism, according to the Manifesto of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, ‘Saubaghyaye Dekma.’ Taking into consideration environmental concerns as well.