Sri Lanka tourism to pay arrears to international broadcasters

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka is unable to launch an international advertising campaign to promote the country due to unpaid advertising bills for previous campaigns, an official said.

Sri Lanka plans to pay half a million US dollars to Al Jazeera Television, Sky and Bloomberg for advertising campaigns carried out from September 2014 to March 2015, Tourism Secretary Janaka Sugathadasa said.

The total claimed was higher, but the payment is expected to pave the way for advertising to resume.

The tourism authority has the funds to make the payment, and cabinet approval will be sought to make a payment, Sugathadasa said.

Sri Lanka has been drawing more tourists, with international booking engines making the country visible with competitive rates, repeating a trend seen earlier in East Asia.

Larger tourist operators have been lobbying the government to crack down on innovations, and there has been some signs of attempts to tightening regulations using the coercive power of the state.

Booking engines are, however, self-regulated, with user reviews better than the police power of the state, some tourists who regularly use the services say.

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