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Transforming the tourism sector one question at a time



Creating an inclusive National Tourism Policy for Sri Lanka:

Mapping the future of the tourism sector in Sri Lanka is vital for the country’s economic recovery post COVID-19. In line with this, the Ministry of Tourism initiated a process to develop a National Tourism Policy for Sri Lanka early this year.

The outlines of the policy have been discussed with the Ministry of Tourism, the Inter-Ministerial Committee, Advisory Council, Tourism Ministry Working Group, Ministry of Finance, Private Sector stakeholders and Provincial Level representatives with technical assistance provided by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in Sri Lanka.

Prior to the drafting of the National Tourism Policy, two questionnaires were designed, to make the policy drafting process inclusive and ensure wide stakeholder participation despite COVID-19 restrictions on meetings and workshops.

The first questionnaire focused on the current state of tourism in Sri Lanka, and had an overwhelming response, allowing for representative views from all public and private stakeholders invested in the tourism sector to be captured.

An issues paper was then developed with input received from the questionnaire meetings held with public sector representatives, provincial council members and private sector associations.

The second questionnaire has been compiled to elicit responses to the proposed policy interventions and reforms, and address issues raised during consultations. This questionnaire, known as the Policy Reforms Questionnaire, is open to all public sector (government and deconcentrated), private sector and NGOs, civil society, international institutions and other relevant organizations in the tourism sector.

Speaking on the importance of the second follow-up questionnaire, Siri Hettiarchchi, Secretary, Ministry of Tourism, said that the intention of the Ministry is to get as many stakeholder responses as possible, despite the ongoing travel restrictions. “

“We want the policy to reflect the aspirations of the industry and its future vision, which should uphold sustainability – social and environmental – and build the ability to withstand shocks and setbacks”, he said.

This questionnaire will provide all interested parties with the opportunity to express their debates, propose solutions, and reach a consensus. The responses will then be compiled together to form policy proposals and policy actions that will suggest institutional, legal, regulatory, and fiscal reforms as well as identifying key priorities in shaping the final National Tourism Policy.

The National Tourism Policy will be an essential component in transforming Sri Lanka’s tourism sector to a more sustainable one in the coming decade.

A final validation national workshop will take place at the end of July to ensure that the selected reforms are supported by the tourism sector, so as to work towards a cohesive revival of tourism in Sri Lanka. (UNDP Press Release)



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Death threats won’t deter us – EC Chairman




Nimal Punchihewa (Chairman ECSL) picture by PRIYAN DE SILVA
Chairman of the Election Commission of Sri Lanka Nimal Punchihewa told The Island that members of  the election commission won’t be deterred by death threats.
He said that members of the commission  M M Mohamed,  K P P Pathirana and S B Diwarathne have been repeatedly threatened and the police have not been able to apprehend the perpetrators.
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Three people dead after torrential rain in New Zealand




At least three people have died due to flash flodding in Auckland (picture BBC)

BBC reported that at least three people have died and one is missing after New Zealand’s largest city experienced its “wettest day on record” on Friday.

Auckland is said to have received 75% of its usual summer rainfall in just 15 hours.

A local state of emergency was declared as authorities managed evacuations and widespread flooding.

New Zealand’s Prime Minister Chris Hipkins thanked emergency services for their swift response to the disaster.The new prime minister travelled to Auckland, where he also expressed his condolences to the loved ones of those who died in the floods.

“The loss of life underscores the sheer scale of this weather event and how quickly it turned tragic”, he said in a news conference on Saturday afternoon.

The downpour flooded the airport, shifted houses and resulted in power cuts to homes for hours.

New Zealand’s defence forces were mobilised to assist with evacuations and emergency shelters were set up across the city.

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Parliament prorogued on Friday night



President says cabinet agreeable to fully implementing 13 A until party leaders decide whether or not to abolish the Amendment

Parliament was prorogued from midnight Friday (27) by President Ranil Wickremesinghe under powers vested in him by Article 70 of the Constitution, parliamentary sources said on Friday.

The Department of Government Printing was due to issue the relevant notification on Friday night but it was not out as this edition went to print.However the President’ Media Division (PMD) confirmed the prorogation on Friday evening saying that President Wickremesinghe “is expected” to make a policy statement based on the decisions taken after the 75th Independence anniversary when parliament recommences on Feb.8.

A separate bulletin said that the president had informed the party leaders Conference on Reconciliation that the cabinet was agreeable to “fully implementing (the) 13th Amendment until party leaders decide whether or not to abolish the Amendment.”

Parliamentary sources explained that a prorogation which is a temporary recess of parliament, should not extend to a period of more than two months, However, such date for summoning parliament may be advanced by another presidential proclamation provided it is summoned for a date not less than three days from the date of such fresh proclamation.

Political observers believe that the prorogation is related to the president’s effort to secure as wide a consensus as possible on the National Question. They dismissed speculation that it is related to the scheduled local elections. This issue was clarified by the PMD bulletin.

When parliament is prorogued, the proclamation should notify the date of the commencement of the new session of parliament under Article 70 of the Constitution.During the prorogation the speaker continues to function and MPs retain their membership of the legislature even though they do not attend meetings of the House.

The effect of a prorogation is to suspend all current business before the House and all proceedings pending at the time are quashed except impeachments.A Bill, motion or question of the same substance cannot be introduced for a second time during the same session. However, it could be carried forward at a subsequent session after a prorogation.

“All matters which having been duly brought before parliament, have not been disposed of at the time of the prorogation, may be proceeded with during the next session,” states the paragraph (4) of article 70 of the constitution.

In the light of this constitutional provision, a prorogation does not result in an end to pending business. Thus, a pending matter may be proceeded with from that stage onwards after the commencement of the new session.

At the beginning of a new session all items of business which were in the order paper need to be re-listed, if it is desired to continue with them.At the end of a prorogation a new session begins and is ceremonially declared open by the president.

He is empowered under the constitution to make a statement of government policy at the commencement of each session of parliament and to preside at ceremonial sittings of parliament in terms of the provisions of paragraph (2) of article 33 of the constitution.The president is empowered to make a statement of government policy at the commencement of each new session. In the past, it was known as the Throne Speech which was delivered by the Governor-General.

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