Following the successful containment of COVID-19, Sri Lanka Tourism said yesterday it is readying to welcome travellers from across the world, assuring further health safety measures from 1 August though new conditions apply.
Apart from multiple PCR tests, all future tourists will be required to apply for visa online, pay a flat fee of $ 100 each (except nationals from countries where there is reciprocal fee-free visa) and minimum stay of five nights at hotels and resorts certified to be compliant with COVID-19 health safety guidelines.
“Sri Lanka Tourism will provide international visitors with the highest standards of safety as we embrace tourists from across the world to experience the beauty of our paradise island once more,” Sri Lanka Tourism Chairperson Kimarli Fernando said.
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.
Our current SLINTGL President Dr. Mahesh Priyadarshana is the Executive Course Director at Sri Lankan SEALS. He is an expert in outdoor activity training and a qualified Advanced Open Water Diver & Lifesaver as well as a Fire fighter, First-Aider, Survival Trainer for Commando, Naval, STF & Police Units.
In this video he shares some practical tips in improvising Life saving aides, when you encounter an unexpected situation, while outdoors.
Industrial Exports and Investment Promotion, Tourism and Aviation Minister Prasanna Ranatunga directed Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) Chairperson Kimarli Fernando to take measures to introduce a new insurance scheme for tourist guides in Sri Lanka.
The top tier of tourist guides representing several Tourist Guide Associations in Sri Lanka urged the Minister Ranatunga to introduce a proper insurance scheme for them to ensure their job security during a recent meeting.
They said the lack of job security due to an absence of an insurance scheme and EPF/ ETF benefits, has affected them vastly. They said that three tourist guides in Sri Lanka were infected with COVID 19 and one person among them had already died.
There are nearly 5000 Tourist Guides across the country registered with the SLTDA. The representatives also request the Minister to introduce a concessionary loan scheme for them. They said that their organisations had written to the Tourism Development Authority requesting that the minimum daily wage be increased to $ US 35. Minister said that the SLTDA has already paid its attention to these requests.
The representatives said unlicensed tourist guides are a big issue and they are often involved in unethical practices including overcharging tourists. The Minister said that action will be taken to prevent these types of unlawful acts in the future and a mechanism will created to regulate tourist guides, chauffeur guides and drivers in the future.
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.