ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s State Tourism Minister Diana Gamage wants the island nation’s wine stores to opened all the time if the country wants to boost tourism.
Gamage has been vocal on opening up night time life to attract more tourists and boost foreign exchange revenue for the country to move out of the crisis.
“When tourists come, if all they have to do is roam around and go to sleep at 10 pm every night in front of their hotel room TV, then we will not be able to earn dollars from them,” Gamage told the parliament during the Committee Stage debate of Tourism Ministry.
“The issue with our country is, there is no place to go after 10 pm. This is a paradise. I do not know whether anyone knows the meaning of a paradise.”
“We have to keep this place open 24/7. I have spoken it about many time. Liquor is the highest tax earner in the country. In this paradise, we are closing bars after 11pm. Foreigners in hotels can’t get any alcohol if they need. Because all the places are close. We need to keep this country open 24 hours. Like Singapore and other countries. People must have to have entertainment.”
Gamage’s proposals for night life have been frowned at by some religious leaders citing that the move is against Sri Lanka’s rich and ancient culture.
“I talk about the night life, and when I talked about that earlier many criticized it and saw it as a big sin. That is ones who are incapable of understanding it,” she said.
“What we call night life is actually is a night economy. All the countries in the world have developed because of night economy. These countries get 70 percent of their income from the nigh economy. They only get 30 percent during the day time.”
“We have to develop a night economy in this country. That will earn 70 percent of the income. Only that can develop this country.”
“We can do that. And also our museum, that closes at 5 pm. In other museums earn most during night. It must be opened 24/7. This night economy is essential for a country’s economy. People must have places t spend their money.” (Colombo/Dec02/2022)