ECONOMYNEXT- Johanne Jayaratne has been appointed the chairman of the state tourism regulator, the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA), a statement said.
Jayaratne had been serving as the Managing Director of the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotions Bureau (SLTPB) since February, before which he was the Executive Director of Airport and Aviation Services Limited.
He will be replacing Kishu Gomes who had been chairing the SLTDA and the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotions Bureau (SLTPB) since February 2019, the statement from the Tourism Ministry said.
Gomes will remain the chairman of SLTPB, to focus on rebuilding Sri Lanka’s tourism brand following the Easter Sunday attacks.
"Both SLTPB as well as SLTDA are facing new challenges since the Easter Sunday attacks that dealt a serious blow to the tourism industry," the statement said.
"It was decided that each entity should have its own chairman to drive the institutions which are responsible for managing the country’s third highest revenue generator."
The two institutions are now tasked with returning the industry to normalcy in the shortest time possible.
Tourism Minister John Amaratunga last Friday said that the industry would bounce back in three months, according to data supplied by airlines, cutting short an earlier estimate of 13 months.
The Easter Sunday (April 21) bombings carried out by radical Islamist extremists connected to the Islamist State killed over 250 and wounded over 500 people.
Tourist arrivals in April fell 7.5 percent, while a decline is also expected in May, with only around 2,000 tourists arriving daily, compared to last year’s average of 4,176. (Colombo/May15/2019)