The Annual General Meeting of the Sri Lanka Institute of Tourist Guide Lecturers is scheduled to be held on 2nd August 2020. Only 200 members will be allowed to attend in person this time due to social distancing regulations, and the others will have to participate via a selected online platform like Zoom. Those who would like to attend in person are therefore requested to contact the office as soon as possible; the available slots will be assigned on a first come, first served basis.
Those who are interested in running for positions on the next board are also called upon to contact the office as soon as possible for the modalities of the application process.
SLTDA acts proactively to minimise COVID-19 burden on Tourism stake holders
In pursuant to their previous undertaking of relieving the burden of licensing fees for 2020, SLTDA Director – Standards and Quality Assurance announced their plan to continue the relief measures for the coming year 2021 too.
This allows us as stakeholders to plan ahead of our survival over the difficult periods during the pandemic.
Further relief measures will be considered in due course.
As the membership at SLINTGL is growing and sub-groups evolving to represent specific interest groups, we felt the need to have a united front when representing National Tourist Guide Lecturer interests, collectively.
On July 3rd, a discussion took place at SLINTGL auditorium between the wing leaders and the current interim board. The intention was to get the different wings under SLINTGL with the concept of “Under One Umbrella”. The wings presented were German, Russian, Spanish, French, Japanese, Italian, Chinese, Korean and Cruise Ship Operations. All agreed and appreciated the concept, initiated by Capt. Harsha and the President of SLINTGL Dr. Mahesh Priyadarshana for the benefit of the members.
Dr. Priyadarshana confirmed to the wings that, the SLINTGL would represent and campaign for the rights of all the members. All the wing leaders representing their members, agreed unconditionally for the NTGL fee hike, that is currently being negotiated.
Further, the wing leaders signed a MoU under which they all agreed to join SLINTGL under the concept of “under one umbrella” and in particular on press releases and media representation. For this purpose, a media subcommittee was appointed. Jayadeva Sudusinghe, with his political coordination ability, has been made responsible for state radio and audio coordination. Sarath Vijendra was appointed for print and visual media and Capt.Harsha, as overall coordinator.
President Dr. Mahesh Priyadarshana expressed his gratitude to all those present, on behalf of the interim committee.
The patrons present were Mr. Ravi Munasinghe, Mr. Christopher Silva and Mr. Sisira Kuruppu, accompanied by former presidents and veterans.
Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) will review increasing the daily fee of chauffer guides and site guides to USD 35, Sri Lanka Tourism Chairperson Kimarli Fernando said.
“The current discussion (of USD 35 increment) is for national guides. The Board is in discussion with all the guides now,” Fernando said adding that the proposal is still under discussion.
Registered tour guides now receive a minimum fee of Rs.2,500 per day. If the proposed increment is approved by the Tourist Board the daily fee of national guides (later chauffeur and site guides) will increase to about Rs. 6,500 from April 30, 2021. For many years, national guides, chauffeur guides, area guides and site guides were in limbo when their pleas for a fee increment was not regarded by the stakeholders concerned.
The Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) is the regulatory body that undertakes training, handles the issue/renewal of licences, sets out standards and regulates fees and tariffs for the National Tourist Guide Lecturers (NTGLs). In simpler terms all official matters pertaining to the NTGLs come under their tutelage. One such important factor under their preview is to regulate and fix a standard fee that should be paid for the NTGLs for their services periodically. This is usually done upon a request made by the Sri Lanka Institute of National Tourist Guide Lecturers (SLINTGL) – the official body for the NTGLs – to the SLTDA. It is then passed on to the SLAITO with the recommendation of the SLTDA. The final outcome of the minimum fee for a given period is mutually agreed upon by the SLTDA, SLAITO and SLINTGL.
The current mutually agreed minimum fee, which is Rs. 2,500/-, came into effect in 2017. This was a mere Rs.300/- increment from the previous. Some of the more realistic DMCs, on their own or upon request of the NTGLs, have increased the min. wage per day to Rs.3,000 – 5,000. In some markets and for specialised tours the fees could even exceed this. The need for a realistic and reasonable increase was long overdue.
Therefore, we requested a $50/day minimum fee. This was officially brought to the notice of the SLTDA along with certain other detrimental issues to tourism, i.e. unlicensed, provincial and site guides being employed by unscrupulous DMCs, mainly in Chinese market; guides not being provided with proper accommodation in some hotels; difficulties in licence renewals etc. These were discussed and submissions were made verbally and in writing long before COVID-19 came into being. Since there was no positive response from the authorities, the general membership planned a protest, which was stalled at the request of the chairperson of the SLTDA on the promise that reasonable action would be initiated to address the issues.
There is no doubt that the current situation will have major economic and social setbacks worldwide. These will be extremely adverse effects on tourism especially. But to avoid and ignore the issues of the pre-COVID-19 period and to take cover behind it is not acceptable and would be deemed unreasonable.