Pictured above: Sri Lanka tourism minister John Amaratunga (left) is greeted by UNWTO Secretary-General Dr Taleb Rifai.

Major boost for Sri Lanka tourism with ministerial appointment to key United Nations committee


Sri Lanka’s rapid rise as a must-visit global tourism destination has been underscored by the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).

At its bi-annual meeting in Chengdu, China, Sri Lanka’s tourism minister John Amaratunga was elected as a vice chair of the UNWTO General Assembly by the Committee on South Asia.

Says the minister: “This appointment shows the recognition that Sri Lanka has gained as an upcoming tourism destination. It will help me to portray Sri Lanka and its unique attractions to the leaders of world tourism.

“It is indeed an honour, and I will leverage this appointment to put Sri Lanka in the world tourism spotlight.”

Sri Lanka tourism suffered several recent setbacks, including the four-month closure of our international airport, severe flooding in the south and a resulting dengue scare following an increase in the mosquito population.

But says the minister: “Despite all this it is indeed reassuring that arrivals are beginning to pick up once again and we are very confident of achieving our targets for this year.”

The UNWTO meeting discussed how to advance the contribution of tourism to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and define the actions of the Organization for the period 2018-2019.

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