Tourism Minister Prasanna Ranatunga says this step was taken as it is essential for tourism service providers to register with the Tourism Development Authority before opening the country to tourists.
A meeting has been organized between the health and tourism authorities on the expeditious opening of the country to tourists who are making a huge contribution to stabilize the country’s economy and it is expected to be held this week, Minister Prasanna Ranatunga said.
Minister Ranatunga said the purpose of this discussion is to take necessary steps to open the country to tourists in the future in accordance with the recommendations of the health sector.
The Tourism Minister said the Minister of Health and the Heads of Health Departments will also participate in this discussion on behalf of the Ministry of Health and he and other heads of the Tourism Divisions will also participate in the discussion on behalf of the Ministry of Tourism.
The Minister noted that the government has taken several steps to open the country to tourists and intends to act in accordance with the instructions of the health sector.
Accordingly, an online methodology has been introduced to expedite the registration of tourism service providers, the Minister said.
According to Section 48 (3) of the Tourism Act, all tourism service providers island wide must be registered with the Tourism Development Authority.
Some service providers who have failed to register with the Tourism authority have not been able to obtain the COVID-19 relief provided by the government and this situation also contributed to the expediting the registration process, Minister Prasanna Ranatunga said.
Meanwhile, arrangements have been made to provide formal training at the Tourism Services Authority to tourist drivers island wide, the Minister said. A Memorandum of Understanding has been signed to provide the training through vocational training centers islandwide.
The Tourism Development Authority has introduced revision programs for those who have received previous training and new programs for newcomers.