Connect with us

News

Shanthikumar takes over THASL leadership

Published

on

By Harischandra Gunaratna

Tourism industry veteran M. Shanthikumar was elected to head The Hotels Association of Sri Lanka (THASL) following his appointment as the President of the association on Thursday at THASL’s 56th anniversary celebrations held at Taj Samudra.Shanthikumar takes over the leadership from Mount Lavinia Group Chairman Sanath Ukwatte whose term ended.

Addressing the anniversary celebrations, Shanthikumar said: “The hotel sector investment in Sri Lanka is by far the highest in the Tourism Industry estimated to be over 15 Billion USD. Further, 70% of the entire Tourism workforce is employed by the hoteliers in the country. Our member hotels and companies continue to spend a large unt of money annually to maintain the plants, for continuous training of staff and for overseas marketing and promotions striving to increase destination arrivals. The highest contribution to the Government coffers are made by the hoteliers.

In terms TDL payments, taxes, levies and all other charges. No one can deny the dominance and the contribution the accommodation providers in the country make to the Tourism industry.

“The hoteliers are already burdened with a series of top line taxes and levies. The topline social security contribution of 2.5% is definitely adding to the burden. We have been without revenues for nearly 18 months still continuing to maintain the employees and the hotels. The industry will lose its competitive edge in marketing the destination with such taxes and there is no doubt it will affect the anticipated tourist arrival growth in to the country.

“Being an industry with dollar earnings we need the Govt to consider exempting the Tourism Sector from the Social Security tax of 2.5% on the total revenue at least until such time we see the Tourist arrivals stabilizing to the country. This is absolutely critical,” he said.

Shanthikumar counts over four decades of experience in the tourism and hospitality industry and has been a catalyst in driving some of the key initiatives implemented for the betterment of the sector.

Earlier this month he stepped down from his role as President of Colombo City Hotels.

Shanthikumar has been part of the leadership team of THASL for over a decade. He has held the position of Director/CEO of Global Towers Hotel, Global Investment, Global Lanka Hotels and a Director of Ocean Edge Hotel. Shanthikumar has also served as Acting Chairman of Sri Lanka Convention Bureau.

Commenting on the appointment of the veteran as head of THASL, the Sri Lanka Association of Inbound Tour Operators (SLAITO) said it is looking forward to working together to uplift the tourism industry during the ongoing challenging period.



Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

News

Booster shots: Poor public response makes GMOA contemplate legal remedy

Published

on

By Rathindra Kuruwita

Lack of enthusiasm among the public to receive the booster dose was disconcerting, given that Sri Lanka had a long-established and highly functional immunisation programme, the Government Medical Officers Association (GMOA) said yesterday.

By 20 January 2022, 64.56% of Sri Lankans had been fully vaccinated, but only 22.47% had received the booster dose, the GMOA said.

“At the early stages of vaccination against Covid-19 the public response was favourable. However, the current waning of interest might be driven by the myths and rumours regarding the vaccines. It is important to take measures to counter such misinformation by raising public awareness of the ongoing vaccination programme.”

“Legal action against those responsible for the spread of communicable diseases can be taken under the Penal Code”, GMOA Secretary Dr. Senal Fernando said. “Provisions of the Quarantine Ordinance can be used against persons who do not comply with directions given by the proper authorities under the Quarantine Ordinance,” he said.

The GMOA said that several countries had made it mandatory to have proof of vaccination for entry into public places. The same thing could be done in Sri Lanka to ensure that more people got vaccinated.

Continue Reading

News

Govt., SJB haggle over procedure to rescue country

Published

on

By Saman Indrajith

The SJB on Sunday said that it was wrong for the President and the government to seek the assistance of the Opposition to steer the country out of the present crises without creating a proper forum to obtain such assistance.

Addressing the media at the Opposition Leader’s Office in Colombo, Chief Opposition Whip and Kandy District MP Lakshman Kiriella said President Gotabaya Rajapaksa delivering the latter’s third Policy Speech in Parliament last week had sought the assistance of the Opposition. “His speech is full of excuses. He sought our assistance but there is no forum to offer our assistance. The government too has asked for the same several times. If the government needs the Opposition’s assistance, what it should do is to declare a state of national disaster situation so that the Opposition could make use of Parliament as the forum for our contributions. That has not been done so far. The President and the government could make use of the provisions of the Disaster Management Act No 53 of 2005 to form a disaster management committee comprising the government and opposition MPs.

The President is the ex-officio Chairman of the committee, the Prime minister and the Opposition leader are there with 24 government ministers and five opposition MPs. In addition to that there are provisions to the involvement of the Chief Ministers of Provinces in the committee. If the government genuinely needs our support it should have started forming that committee. There are laws enabling the formulation of mechanisms to help people the government does not make use of them. We have been repeatedly asking the government to appoint that committee.

Continue Reading

News

Lord Ahamad plants kumbuk tree sapling during visit to Bellanwila – Attidiya Bird Sanctuary

Published

on

By Ifham Nizam

Lord Tariq Ahmad of Wimbledon, Minister for South Asia, the United Nations and the Commonwealth at the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office of the UK, planted a Kumbuk (Terminalia arjuna) sapling at the Bellanwila – Attidiya Bird Sanctuary last week.

The Department of Wildlife said Lord Ahmad had been joined by the British High Commissioner in Colombo Sarah Hulton, Hasanthi Urugodwatte Dissanayake, Acting Additional Secretary of Ocean Affairs, Environment and Climate Change at the Foreign Ministry, Saman Liyanagama, Wildlife Ranger of the Colombo Wildlife Range, Department of Wildlife Conservation and Professor Sevvandi Jayakoddy, Senior Lecturer of the Wayamba University.

The planting activity was followed by a brief visit to the wetland and Prof. Jayakoddy, and Liyanagama explained the importance of wetland ecosystems as well as challenges in conservation and maintenance, while Dissanayake briefed him on the Sri Lanka’s pioneering work related to mangrove restoration and conservation, both at policy level as well as at the ground level.

Hasini Sarathchandra, Publicity Officer, Department of Wildlife Conservation said British High Commission in Colombo with the International Water Management Institute Headquartered in Sri Lanka, had already launched a project under the Darwin Initiative at the Baddegana Wetlands.  Similar collaborations are envisaged involving the Bellanwila – Attidiya Bird Sanctuary.

Wetlands play an important role in our natural environment. They mitigate the impacts of floods, absorb pollutants and improve water quality. They provide habitat for animals and plants and many contain a wide diversity of life, supporting plants and animals that are found nowhere else. Colombo is a city built on and around wetlands. Despite progressive loss and degradation, wetlands still cover some 200 km2 of the Colombo metropolitan area and suburbs.

The wetlands are fundamental to the well-being of the people of Colombo and its suburbs. The wetlands can reduce extreme air temperatures and make the city more live able due to evaporative cooling. The wetlands provide a critical land-mass which helps to maintain the richness of Colombo’s biodiversity.

The Bellanwila-Attidiya wetlands was declared as a bird sanctuary on 25 July 1990, due to biodiversity of the area and its contribution to controlling floods. The wetlands, which span over 930 acres, host endemic species and is a paradise for migratory birds. 44 species of fish including 06 which are endemic to the country have been identified in the Bolgoda River which flows through the wetlands. The wetlands are also home to 21 reptilian species, 17 species of mammals and 10 butterfly species. Bellanwia-Attidiya sanctuary falls within the upper catchment of the Bolgoda river basin. The Department of Wildlife Conservation manages the Bellanwila-Attidiya Sanctuary.

Selection of the location was also due to the close collaboration that Sri Lanka has with the Government of the UK on conservation of mangroves and wetlands.

Continue Reading

Trending