Tourism business registration increased by 26 per cent to 5,336 in 2020, according to the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA).
According to SLTDA, the streamlining of the registration process, which takes place 100 per cent online at present, is the major reason behind this. However, over the past 50 years, only 4,237 businesses had been registered due to complicated procedures, accessibility issues and various malpractices.
Further, according to the ‘Sri Lanka Tourism Year in Review 2020 Report’, issued recently by SLTDA, until 2020 the Provincial Guides were not registered with SLTDA and have hence been overlooked. However, post COVID-19 with the support of the Provincial Councils, the Authority has taken steps to register the Provincial Guides and grant them a one-off payment of Rs 15,000.00 as a COVID-19 support. At the same time, it was said, for the past 30 years, the tourism industry has not been able to register the informal sector that has grown exponentially and a large number of accommodation providers remain unregistered. Since they are unregistered, whenever there is a pandemic or such crisis, this segment is left out from any support. Hence, supporting the informal sector to register, by assisting them in overcoming legal impediments, SLTDA has identified several locations in the country to open Service Centres by working in close cooperation with the Provinces, Local Authorities and Regional Associations.
Accordingly, it was noted that there was a 39 per cent increase in registrations of accommodation providers after streamlining the process. It is said the current online registration process is also being reviewed and updated to meet the timely needs of the industry.
At present, SLTDA is working with Market Development Facility (MDF) Australia to create more awareness on the registration process among the industry stakeholders by developing videos and digital platforms.
By Anjali Caldera | Ceylon Today