Awareness Discussion with SLTDA Officials

An awareness discussion on the menace of unauthorised guiding services was held at the Sri Lanka Institute of National Tourist Guide Lecturers (SLINTGL) on 02nd January 2020. Mrs. Kimarli Fernando (new Chairperson of the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority – SLTDA), Mrs. Chandani Werapitiya (new Director General of SLTDA), Mr. Upali Ratnayake (former Director General of SLTDA), Mr. Dhammika Kasthurimudali (Chief of the SLTDA Investigation Unit), Mr. Prabath Vidanagama (Officer in Charge of Tourist Police) and members of SLINTGL took part in the discussion.

Dr. Mahesh Priyadarshana, President of SLINTGL, started off the proceedings with a presentation on the history of SLINTGL and the current problems faced by its members, who are National Tourist Guide Lecturers, or NTGLs – the highest category of tour guides in the country, licensed by SLTDA to operate on an island-wide basis. Dr. Priyadarshana pointed out how the in-depth training received by NTGLs and the ongoing skills-development efforts of SLINTGL to further uplift the standards of its members are being undermined by unauthorised guiding services being offered in various parts of the country. During the question-and-answer session that followed, some members drew the attention of the authorities to how the image of the country is being tarnished by the misinformation provided by untrained foreigners who happen to guide certain tour groups.

The officials gave a keen ear to the grievances aired by the members of SLINTGL and promised to continue the dialogue with SLINTGL in the future formulation and implementation of regulations. The Chairperson explained how she intends to take positive measures to open up new vistas in the tourism industry, in keeping with the vision of the new administration of the country. The former and new DGs presented their intended plans of action meant for the betterment of the industry. The law-enforcement officials clarified the legal aspects of undesirable practices like illegal guiding and suggested a joint action plan to tackle such cases.

SLINTGL hopes that the new rapport with the authorities will lead to better co-operation, which will enable us to find common ground in the interest of the tourism industry.

Photo credit: Sam Casseer (member of SLINTGL)

Dr. Mahesh Priyadarshana, President of SLINTGL, making his keynote presentation
Mrs. Kimarly Fernando, Chairperson of SLTDA, delivering her speech
Mrs. Kimarly Fernando, Chairperson of SLTDA, and members of SLINTGL
Mrs. Chandani Werapitiya, Director General of SLTDA, delivering her speech
Mr. Upali Ratnayake, former Director General of SLTDA, making his presentation
Mr. Dhammika Kasthurimudali, Chief of the SLTDA Investigation Unit, delivering his speech
Mrs. Kimarly Fernando, Chairperson of SLTDA and Mrs. Chandani Werapitiya, Director General of SLTDA
Mr. Upali Ratnayake, former Director General of SLTDA, Mr. Prabath Vidanagama, Officer in Charge of Tourist Police and Mr. Dhammika Kasthurimudali, Chief of the SLTDA Investigation Unit
Dr. Mahesh Priyadarshana, President of SLINTGL, Mr. Joe Livera, a former president, and other members
General Secretary and Directors of SLINTGL
Members of SLINTGL
Members of SLINTGL
Members of SLINTGL
Members of SLINTGL