The natural splendors of the island, the amazing opportunities for the deluxe game of gambling, together with the beauty of the culture and traditions, have made Sri Lanka one of the most significant tourist attractions in this world. It is true that Sri Lanka lacked tourists a few decades back, due to the civil war that took place on this land. However, as it reached an end in the year 2009, the tourism industry in Sri Lanka flourished. Accordingly, it has now become one of the industries that significantly contribute to the economy of Sri Lanka. In the journey of Sri Lankan’s tourism industry reaching the peak, a number of authorities of the tourism industry were established on this island. Thenceforth, their contribution to creating a positive impact on both the tourists, as well on the industry is indeed appreciable.
The Sri Lankan Government values each and every tourist who arrives on this island. Therefore, they work with the sole intention of offering the best experience to any of the tourists who travel in this country. Further, the authorities of the tourism industry in Sri Lanka, are bound to offer travelers the most reliable and accurate information. Moreover, they care for tourists, and they consider tourists’ safety as their foremost concern. Hence, they offer several services to serve the tourists at their best.
So, if you are ever planning to backpack on this island, it is essential that you know about these important authorities in the tourism industry. Thus, we thought of sharing with you everything that you need to know in this regard. We are certain that this information about the important authorities of the tourism industry in Sri Lanka, will help you immerse yourself in a trip like no other. Continue reading!
Important Authorities of Tourism Industry in Sri Lanka
What if you face an unexpected situation in an unknown country? Certainly, it would end up being an unpleasant surprise. Going beyond, it would turn out to be more distressing, if you arrive at a position where you lack the awareness on how to react to that specific situation. In that case, it is essential that you have a good idea about the important authorities of the tourism industry in any of the countries that you travel to.
However, if you ever travel to Sri Lanka, we would guarantee you that the services offered by the authorities of the tourism industry in Sri Lanka are indeed impressive. Of course, their significance was highlighted several times. So, you might be wondering about what these important authorities are. We have lined up below the most important authorities of the tourism industry in Sri Lanka. Just check whether you knew about them!
- Department of Immigration and Emigration
- Sri Lanka Tourist Police Department
- The Sri Lanka Police Head Office
- Sri Lanka Tourist Board
- Ministry of Tourism Development & Christian Religious Affairs
- Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority
- Sri Lanka Tourism Promotional Bureau
- The Sri Lanka Institute of Tourism & Hotel Management
- Sri Lanka Tourism Convention Bureau
- Ministry of Tourism
- Ministry of Tourism and Aviation
- Bandaranaike International Airport
- Mattala International Airport
- Sri Lanka Airport & Aviation Services
- Sri Lankan Airlines
- Tourist Hotels Association of Sri Lanka
- Sri Lanka Association of Inbound Tour Operators
- Conservation of Wildlife Heritage
- Government Information Center
Of course, there are quite a number of authorities, covering a vast scope. None of them can be left out. All of them play a major role in the betterment of the tourists. So, let us now draw your attention to a full overview of them.
A Full Overview on the Important Authorities of Tourism Industry in Sri Lanka
Knowing what the important authorities of the tourism industry in Sri Lanka are, you might be wondering what services they offer. The below sections would help you know all about them!
1. Department of Immigration and Emigration
You might be a traveler, visitor, student, businessman, or even an employee. Whoever you are, the Department of Immigration and Emigration is one of the departments that would delight you with their services even prior to arriving in Sri Lanka.
Of course, the process of obtaining a visa happens to be a cumbersome task, in certain countries. However, thanks to the experienced, trained, and dedicated staff at the Department of Immigration and Emigration in Sri Lanka, it is never a hard task on this island. Indeed, they are inspired to create the most pleasant travel experience in Sri Lanka. So, why not? You can simply leave out all your paperwork to these specialists, and focus on your purpose of the visit. They would surely guarantee you a hassle-free entry and a satisfying stay here in Sri Lanka.
The Department of Immigration and Emigration in Sri Lanka comprises the experts in handling all your Sri Lankan visa requirements. Therefore, they possess the updated information about the visa requirements and visa extensions. Thus, they are the most reliable party to get to know everything with regard. Further, they not only assist you to clear out your doubts and queries. They also take the responsibility of forwarding your visa applications to the Department of Immigration in the most secure and lawful manner. Hence, their contribution in making your travel a pleasant surprise, through a smooth, methodical, and fast service, is indeed remarkable.
However, the Department of Immigration and Emigrations is well organized to achieve set objectives that would help them reach success. Knowing what they are would help you grab the best of their service. So, let us now have a quick glance over how they strive to do their best.
Services of Immigration and Emigration Department
In the journey of making Sri Lanka, the emerging ‘Wonder of Asia’, the role that the Department of Immigration and Emigration plays is just noteworthy. The following quick overview of their title role would make you feel the same. Below are the tasks they carry out in general.
- Controlling the entry of tourists through entry endorsement.
- Assisting visitors with the documentation process of visa requirements.
- Aiding visitors to clear out their doubts and queries with regard.
- Maintaining records of non-Sri Lankans entering the country through any of the entry points.
- Maintaining records of non-Sri Lankans departing the country through any of the entry departing points.
- Contributing to detect violations of provisions made by the acts.
- Promoting the Tourism Industry in Sri Lanka.
Apart from these services, there is a specific service of the Department of Immigration and Emigration in Sri Lanka, that can never be ignored. If you tried to apply for VISA online recently, you surely know about this service. Of course! You guessed it right. It is the Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) service. This is undoubtedly the most effective service brought to you by this department. Knowing about it would certainly help you in the future. So, let us now get to know what this ETA facility is.
Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) System
As you might already know, from 1st January 2012 onwards, any of the tourists visiting Sri Lanka should obtain an ETA. But what is this ETA? Sometimes, you might have a doubt as such. No worries! Let us help you clear out your doubts and queries with regard. Continue reading, and you will find everything that you need to know!
The Electronic Travel Authorization, simply known as ETA, is an official authorization that the Department of Immigration and Emigration offers you. This service is dedicated to short-term travel and is issued electronically, on-line. You can simply experience this service through their website. It does not request you to submit any copies of the documents or any photographs. Moreover, there is no requirement as such to emboss your ETA on your passport. Thus, this happens to be a highly convenient and efficient method of obtaining authorization to enter Sri Lanka.
Further, a person who obtains an ETA has the ability to obtain a 30 day Short Visit visa at arrival. So, its service is just as simple as such, and it creates you an opportunity to fulfill your entry requirements with no hassles. However, it is better to have a copy of your ETA approval notice at the arrival port for faster clearance. Apart from that, you do not have to doubt its reliability and validity. It is a guaranteed service by the Department of Immigration and Emigration in Sri Lanka itself.
Accordingly, the fully geared Department of Immigration and Emigration in Sri Lanka strives to create a pleasant immigration experience. Meanwhile, they also facilitate maintaining the order of the country through their legal operations. Thus, the Department of Immigration and Emigration in Sri Lanka is obviously one of the significant authorities of the Tourism Industry in Sri Lanka.
2. Sri Lanka Tourist Police Department
As we always highlight the fact, Sri Lanka values each and every tourist who arrives on this island. The authorities, together with the citizens are working towards creating a safer environment for the tourists. Sri Lanka Tourist Police Department plays a major role in regard. Thus, it can be known as one of the most significant authorities of the tourism industry in Sri Lanka.
It was established in the year 2007, as a section of the Sri Lanka Police Department. Its sole intention revolves around offering an efficient service for the tourists with resolving their issues. Moreover, it is the authority in Sri Lanka responsible for handling tourist complaints. Accordingly, the Tourism Police Department of Sri Lanka is inspired in creating you the most perfect and safest stay on this island.
Its headquarters is on the second floor of the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority building in Colombo 03. Moreover, Police Tourist Units are available covering almost all the major cities in Sri Lanka. You can simply reach them, using the below contacts, and they are more than pleased to assist you in resolving your issues.
- Anuradhapura: 011-3133686
- Polonnaruwa: 027-2223099
- Dambulla: 066-5677966
- Kandy: 071-8390664
- Nuwara-Eliya: 052-2222223
- Kalutara: 034-2276049
- Galle: 091-2275554
- Arugam Bay: 077-3967063
- Negombo: 031-2275555
Their service covering the whole island, not only helps to tackle complaints efficiently, but also to provide assistance in emergencies such as natural disasters, crimes, and health emergencies as well. Going beyond, they are crucial in detecting illegal operations and harassments that take place with regard to the trade. Beach patrol and monitoring patrols operated by these units play a major role with regard.
Service of the Sri Lanka Tourist Police Department
With the aim of achieving their mission and vision, the Sri Lanka Tourist Police Department carries out the following tasks.
- Enhancing the safety of tourists in Sri Lanka
- Handling tourist complaints courteously and effectively, while taking necessary actions following professional conduct.
- Monitoring and taking necessary actions against the dishonest organizations linked within the tourism industry in Sri Lanka.
- Conducting awareness programs covering all aspects in order to minimize irregularities related to the industry.
- Working for the betterment of tourism in Sri Lanka.
By now, you have a good idea about their achievable tasks. However, in order to make their vision and mission a reality, there are a certain set of procedures that they follow. Let’s have a quick glance over their mechanism as well.
- Maintaining a good network within the industry, covering the airports, immigration & emigration, embassies, major service providers, etc., in a way that is helpful in tracing records.
- Establishing Tourist Police units covering major tourist attractions.
After all, these facts again prove the noteworthy contribution of the Sri Lanka Tourism Police Department in steering the country’s tourism industry towards the best. Thus, it remains one of the important authorities of the tourism industry in Sri Lanka, and its remarkable service with regard is indeed perceptible.
3. Sri Lanka Police Head Office
Sri Lanka Police is the authority that is responsible for maintaining peace and order across the island. Thus, the contribution of Sri Lanka Police towards the Tourism Industry in Sri Lanka can never be neglected.
In brief, Sri Lanka Police functions under the supervision of the Inspector General of Police who reports to the Minister of Law and Order. Under the Sri Lanka Police Head Office, there are 401 police stations operating across the island. Approximately 77,000 policemen are on duty and the police service goes on 24/7. Hence, by chance, if you face any kind of undesirable situation or an emergency, the best is to contact the police service.
Especially, being a tourist, it would be obviously hard for you to keep finding a way to contact the nearest police station. In such an instance, you can simply reach the Police Emergency Center by dialing 119. Afterward, considering the nature of the emergency, the relevant police stations and authorities will be informed of the situation, and they would arrive at the location, as soon as possible. Of course, the Sri Lanka Police is bound to take actions for any of your emergencies
So, wherever you are on this island, you might need the service of Sri Lanka Police at any hour. Thus, it is always to keep in mind their emergency hotline.
Services of Sri Lanka Police
By now, you certainly know that the Police would be at your doorstep with no time, in any of your emergencies. Apart from attending to your emergencies, there are many other services that Sri Lanka Police offers on behalf of you. The below section would help you get to know about that.
- Handling civil complaints, and to address them in the best way at the earliest possible.
- Assisting Sri Lanka Traffic police to control the traffic when necessary.
- Supporting the Sri Lanka Tourist Department to address issues related to the industry.
- Assisting Police Narcotic Bureau in accomplishing missions.
- Issuing Accident Reports, and necessary documents as per request.
- Issuing Police Clearance Certificates for visa applicants, and employees, as per request.
- Authorizing Loudspeaker / Gun / Explosive permits.
Likewise, the service of Sri Lanka Police spreads across a vast scope. Undoubtedly, their service is essential in maintaining the peace and order of the country. Moreover, the Sri Lanka Tourist Department cannot achieve their objectives individually, without the valuable contribution of the Sri Lanka Police. In addition, it is Sri Lanka Police that would reach you in any case of emergency despite the hour of the day, distance, and danger. Hence, Sri Lanka Police is indeed one of the most important authorities in the tourism industry in Sri Lanka.
4. Sri Lanka Tourist Board
Decades back, in 1966 to be exact, the Sri Lankan government decided to assist the tourism industry flourish within the island. Accordingly, the Ceylon Tourist Board, which was later known as the Sri Lankan Tourist Board was established. Thenceforth, it acted as the institutional framework to oversee the development of the industry, with a high focus on a systematic plan. Its vitals roles were as follows.
- Acting as the main statutory body within the industry.
- Supporting the financial management of the trade.
- Planning the development of infrastructure and facilities that impact tourism.
- Taking actions to preserve the significant tourist attractions within the country.
- Registering all service providers related to the tourism industry in Sri Lanka.
Accordingly, the Sri Lanka Tourism Board was able to benchmark the quality of the trade, while paving it the path to expanding further. However, after 41 years, Tourism Act No 2005 came on stage in the year 2007, replacing the Tourism Board. Afterward, the following authorities continued the services of the Sri Lanka Tourism Board.
- Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority
- Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau
- The Sri Lanka Institute of Tourism and Hotel Management
- Sri Lanka Convention Bureau
They are now under the Ministry of Tourism Development & Christian Religious Affairs. So, let us have a look at them in the upcoming sections.
5. Ministry of Tourism Development & Christian Religious Affairs
The Ministry of Tourism Development & Christian Religious Affairs is one of the not so old ministries, established in the year 2015. Of course, a vast scope of the tourism industry is at the hands of this ministry. Thus, there is no secret that it immensely contributes to the development of the nation. Simply, it is responsible for creating the appropriate regulatory framework, and policy structures, making it possible to maintain the standards of the industry.
With the aim of accomplishing this vision and mission while bringing out the best, its objectives are divided among four main authorities. They are as follows.
- Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority
- Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau
- The Sri Lanka Institute of Tourism and Hotel Management
- Sri Lanka Convention Bureau
Of course, as you might already know, they were the authorities that replaced the Sri Lanka Tourism Board. So, you might certainly be wondering what they are. Continue reading and get to know all about them.
6. Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLDA)
At present, the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority is the main system that fulfills a larger portion of the role of the former Sri Lanka Tourism Board. Duly, it is now serving as the central hub that establishes, positions, and develops the country as a significant destination point for visitors worldwide. Consequently, it is responsible for enhancing the offerings of the industry, as follows.
- Regulating and implementing Policies with regard to Sri Lankan tourism.
- Improving Sri Lanka’s natural potential in a way that positively influences the trade.
- Concerning domestic tourism as well as community relations, when implementing development projects.
- Supporting investors and communities to achieve sustainable benefits out of the trade.
- Contributing to promote Tourism Industry in Sri Lanka.
The foundation the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority lays, in order to maintain the quality and consistency of the trade is appreciable beyond doubt. Indeed, they were a significant pillar for the success of Sri Lankan tourism thus far. Hence, no one would disagree with introducing it as one of the most important authorities of the tourism industry in Sri Lanka.
7. Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau
Sri Lanka is now a significant tourist attraction in the modern world. By now, you already know that there are a bunch of specialties on this island that support this factor. Still, marketing and promotions also contribute significantly to this cause. And believe us, Sri Lanka concerns about how to take its beauty to the world. Thus, a government body exists to oversee this process. It might not be that popular. However, it is the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau that works with regard.
Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau was also established along with the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority, back in 2005. To succeed in achieving this vision and mission, the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau carries out their tasks focusing on the following aspects.
- Planning marketing and promotional campaigns in the global context.
- Supporting the government to reach the targets associated with the tourist arrival and revenue.
- Creating opportunities for trade and consumer segments.
Likewise, the silent service of the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau has always been instrumental in creating waves of tourism, through unique concepts and experience. Hence, we are appreciating its contribution as one of the important authorities of the Tourism Industry in Sri Lanka.
8. Sri Lanka Institute of Tourism and Hotel Management (SLITHM)
Sri Lanka Institute of Tourism and Hotel Management (SLITHM) holds a key role as the only government-authorized tourism institute in Sri Lanka. The opportunities it creates for individuals who are interested in this field are highly commendable. Moreover, its contribution to nurturing the younger generations to enter the hospitality and Travel Industry is simply great!
Following the rapid growth in Sri Lanka tourism, SLITHM expanded its services islandwide establishing provincial schools covering all major cities of this island. Accordingly, it makes sure that none of the enthusiasts of this field are left behind. At present, the SLITHM is under the Ministry of Tourism Development and Christian Religious Affairs. With its guidance and supervision, SLITHM is now managed by a group of well experienced and dedicated professionals.
The following would help you identify its significant contributions to the field of tourism and hospitality management. With the aim of achieving its vision, it has lined up its mission and objectives as follows.
- Catering quality training services abiding by the national and international standards, for the professions related to the tourism and hospitality industry. ( Duly, many craft, apprenticeship, and diploma level courses and tourist guide training programmes are conducted)
- Designing a curriculum to meet the changing demands of the industry.
- Taking steps to expand tourism and hospitality education through partnerships with local and international institutes.
- Contributing to promote the values of Sri Lankan hospitality globally.
- Creating opportunities for the Sri Lankan youth to sustain along with the industry.
- Conducting research with regard to the field.
This is just a glimpse of its contributions. Visit their website for any further details and contacts.
9. Sri Lanka Convention Bureau (SLCB)
The splendors of Sri Lanka, its developing vibrant cities, together with the beauty of its culture and traditions, make it an appealing location for international gatherings. Thus, the Sri Lanka government never hesitates to feature this beautiful island as an ideal venue for MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions) tourism. Indeed, it was a separate section which demanded unique strategies and plans. Thus, under the Tourist Act of 2005, the Sri Lankan government established the Sri Lanka Convention Bureau (SLCB) to work with regard.
Thenceforth, SLCB, took several steps to position Sri Lanka in the MICE Tourism world. Apart from the promotional tasks that it fulfills, it also plays a vital part with regard to the activities that happen with regard to MICE tourism. You can find some of its services below.
- Acting as the main contact point for event planners when planning and organizing events in Sri Lanka.
- Serving inquiries related to the industry.
- Supporting to conduct the events professionally in a way that client expectations are met.
- Arranging necessary government clearances, coordination with airport authorities, and all related requirements of an international event.
- Handling the promotions of international events that take place in Sri Lanka.
SLCB is now under the Ministry of Tourism in Sri Lanka, and it continues to do its best as the government body that focuses on MICE tourism. A number of international and conferences were held in Sri Lanka, during the past years, and they simply prove the success of SLCB so far. Moreover, their service highly impacts in uplifting the living standards of Sri Lankans, as well as in contributing to the Sri Lankan economy. Owing to these facts, literally, there is no harm in introducing it as one of the most important authorities of tourism in Sri Lanka.
10. Ministry of Tourism
Prior to the establishment of the Ministry of Tourism and Aviation, it was under the Ministry of Tourism that this industry was overlooked. Accordingly, it was responsible for regulating and managing the industry towards advancements.
By now, you clearly know that the responsibilities of the tourism industries are now categorized under several sections. Moreover, there are a number of authorities that are overlooking the progress of each of those sectors. However, it was not the same decades back, with the Ministry of Tourism, in action. By then, all the major responsibilities entangled with the tourism and hospitality industry were focused around this single ministry. Therefore, it offered its services covering a wide range. Some of its significant tasks were as follows.
- Taking necessary actions to regulate all sectors related to the industry.
- Setting plans to position Sri Lanka Tourism in the world market.
- Managing service providers within the industry.
- Creating opportunities for the sustainable development of Tourism.
- Supporting the legislative processes.
- Promoting the industry, while maintaining the standards of the field.
- Supporting the Tourist Police Department when required.
- Collaborating with local and international organizations for mutual benefits.
Likewise, there were a number of functions associated with the Ministry of Tourism. Beyond doubt, the ministry highly contributed and was instrumental in the journey of Sri Lanka tourism thus far. Hence, we can regard it as an important authority in the tourism industry of Sri Lanka.
11. Ministry of Tourism and Aviation
The two closely-related fields, tourism, and aviation gave rise to the need for a dedicated ministry to be in charge of them. Accordingly, the government formed this ministry in 2019. Indeed, managing two closely related, highly demanding sectors of a country is a huge responsibility. Duly, there are a number of tasks that bestows upon the Ministry of Tourism and Aviation. With the aim of achieving this vision and a mission a reality, they are offering their services focusing on the below tasks and functions.
- Taking necessary actions required to formulate, establish, and maintain policies, programs, and projects related to tourism and civil aviation.
- Handling the registration process of the tourist agencies, and regulating them.
- Promoting the significance of Sri Lanka, along with the wonderful facilities lined up.
- Developing, managing, and regulating international, & domestic airports in the country.
- Registering aircraft.
- Working on foreign expansion projects related to the industry.
Indeed, all these tasks are highly essential in the journey of improving customer services and satisfaction. Thus, its significance in the field of the Tourism industry is not a wonder. However, we are sure that this ministry reminded you of the airports in Sri Lanka. So, why not? Let us take you on a journey around them as well!
12. Bandaranaike International Airport
The history of the Bandaranaike International Airport runs back to 1944. Simply, it began as an airfield for the Royal Air Force during the second world war. Yet, it was later converted to the National Airport in Sri Lanka for international passengers. The former Sri Lankan prime minister, Mr. S.W.R.D.Bandaranaike played a major role in this course. Thus, it was named commemorating him, and it is colloquially known as Katunayake International Airport as well.
By chance, if you have ever visited Sri Lanka, you should surely know about this airport. Until, 2013, it was through this airport that all passenger arrivals and departures happened. Later on, Mattala International Airport joined the process. Still, Bandaranaike International Airport serves as the main central point for desired transportation connections and services among countries.
This airport is in the suburbs of Negombo, around 30km away from Colombo, and serves over 10.79M annual passengers. Airport and Aviation Services (Sri Lanka) Ltd administrates this airport, and it offers its service for nearly 40 Airlines worldwide. In brief, it has got three passenger terminals in total. Two of them are international passenger terminals and the other is a domestic terminal. Further, the airport consists of 5 Aprons. They are Apron Alpha, Apron Bravo, Apron Charlie, Apron Delta, and Apron echo. Further, it consists of a single runway with an asphalt surface. Apart from that several, more expansion projects are under construction. They include the construction of a second runway to support the Airbus A380, eight passenger gates, and another domestic terminal.
Above all, it is indeed vital for you to get to know about the services that the Bandaranaike International Airport offers you. Everything that you need to know with regard is lined up below.
Services of Bandaranaike International Airport
By now, it is a clear fact that the contribution of Bandaranaike International Airport in terms of international travel and international cargo, is immense. Indeed, it is the pivot point of service for Sri Lanka Airlines, which is now the national career of Sri Lanka. Moreover, it acts as the central hub for Sri Lankan Cargo, and domestic Airline services such as Cinnamon Air and Millennium Airlines as well. Apart from that, there are many other services that they carry out for your own benefit. Let us now check what they are.
Facilities that Bandaranaike International Airport offer you
Many centers are available at each terminal of Bandaranaike International Airport, catering to a wide range of your necessities. Of course, knowing about them would certainly assist you to save your time, and to avoid any hassles. They are as follows.
- Information Desks to help you clear out your doubts.
- Currency Exchange centers and ATMs, in the arrival lobby and the transit area.
- Restaurants run by Sri Lankan Airlines, with Sri Lankan and international cuisines that meet your demands.
- Duty-free shops covering a wide range of products, in both the arrival and departure.
- Airport’s bond baggage facility which allows you to store your luggage up to 45 days till your next fight.
- First-aid centers with experienced and qualified staff for all health emergencies.
- A post office in arrivals, and telephone booths in the arrival, departure, as well as in transit areas. Further, the communication center at the transit lounge offers you international direct dialing facilities, as well as photocopy and fax facilities.
- Special facilities for disabled passengers and for those who travel abroad with serious medical conditions. Any special requirements with regard should be discussed with the Airlines prior to the travel.
- Facilities for international conferences and business meetings.
As you might already know this airport is just a few miles away from the city of Negombo, as well as in close proximity to Colombo. Both these cities house a wide range of wonderful accommodation facilities, as well as restaurants. Thus, you can easily reach any of them, and a number of travel methods are available for you to choose as per your wish. Above all, Bandaranaike International Airport is one of the most important authorities of the tourism industry in Sri Lanka, and its contribution to mold your travel experience into a delightful one is significant beyond doubt.
13. Mattala International Airport
Following the end of the 30 years civil war in 2009, Sri Lanka flourished as a significant tourist attraction. Thus, the tourism industry in Sri Lanka reached the peak, and the Bandaranaike International Airport got busier day by day. As a solution to balance the tourists’ influx, Mattala International Airport came up as the second international airport in Sri Lanka. It was built under the regime of Hon. Mahinda Rajapakse, in Mattala, in the South East of Sri Lanka.
It was declared open in 2013, and thenceforth, unfortunately, it could only serve a limited number of flights. Even Sri Lankan Airlines, the national career of Sri Lanka, as well as Mihin Air, introduced by the same regime, established a hub there. Still, Mattala AirPort was unable to attract passengers, and by 2018 there were no scheduled flights for Mattala International Airport. However, two main reasons can be identified behind this unsuccess.
i) The South East of Sri Lanka being a comparatively rural area when compared to the location of the Bandaranaike International Airport.
ii) Roaming of wild elephants, cattles, peacocks, and many other wild creatures in the vicinity of the airport.
Mattala International Airport was once even known as the ‘World’s emptiest International Airport’.Still, its contribution during the hard times should never be disregarded.
However, the government recently discussed with the Indian government to run Mattala International Airport as a joint venture. The discussions tend to be successful. Further, Mattala International Airport took a step ahead, commencing cargo operations on August 9th, 2020. Accordingly, an Emirates cargo flight took off from the airport to the US for the first time. Thus, we can hope that Mattala International Airport will soon be on the track to its success. Let’s hope for the best!
Services of Mattala International Airport
There was a time period in 2017, during which the renovations were taking place on the runaway in Bandaranaike International Airport. Accordingly, Mattala International Airport got the opportunity to have at least five flights daily. Moreover, it was an integral service point during the Covid pandemic, especially during the months of June and July. In the course, it was handling ship crew changes and repatriation flights. Further, it handled more than 50 flights with over 2000 passengers.
Also, Mattala International Airport houses a series of modern facilities. Its terminal has the capacity of handling more than 1 million passengers. Of course, it has only a single runaway. Still, it is of the best quality and has the ability to receive the AIRBUS A380, which is the world’s largest passenger aircraft.
Going beyond, Mattala International Airport is also designed to cater to its passengers with the best. It offers you the below facilities within the airport premises.
- Two banks in the common lobby with foreign currency exchange facilities, and ATMs in the outer porch.
- A restaurant in the transit area, that caters to both Sri Lankan and international cuisines
- Limited shopping facilities at the departure
- Executive lounge for businessmen and VIP
- A post office at the outer-porch, and telephone booths in the terminal
- Communication counters for international services
- Additional support and facilities for disabled passengers
Of course, Mattala International Airport is a few hours drive away from Yala National Park, Arugam Bay, and Nuwara Eliya. So, by chance, if you arrive at this airport, you can easily reach them. The best is to use a taxi service, or you can get support with regard to the transport counters at the airport. Even though it is not functioning at the moment, we are believing that it would get onboard very soon!
14. Sri Lanka Airport & Aviation Services (AASL)
Of course, you surely came across the term ‘Sri Lanka Airport & Aviation Services (Sri Lanka) Ltd’ several times during this read itself. So, you might be wondering what this authority is. Nothing to worry about! We are ready to share with you all about this institution since it holds that much of a vital role in the field of airports and aviation.
In brief, Sri Lanka Airport & Aviation Services (Sri Lanka) Ltd is a fully owned subsidiary of the Sri Lanka Government. Its title role revolves around managing and developing civil airports within this island. Going beyond, its contribution lies not only focusing the international aviation facilities but also on domestic aviation facilities as well. Accordingly, some of its key responsibilities can be listed as below.
- Identifying new opportunities within the airport and aviation industry.
- Designing projects to expand the current aviation facilities, and setting plans to further enhance the quality and the standards of the services.
- Promoting international aviation services as well as domestic aviation services.
- Assisting the smooth flow of the functions of the Ministry of Aviation.
At present, AASL holds a significant contribution to the national economy of Sri Lanka. Moreover, it is now in the process of reaching the level of a marketing-oriented blue-chip public company that benefits through the competitive advantage. Hence, certainly, it is one of the most important authorities in the tourism industry in Sri Lanka. Also, a simple visit to their website would amaze with a wide range of information it covers.
15. Sri Lankan Airlines
Surely, you might have heard about Sri Lankan Airlines earlier. Of course, it is popular as ‘Sri Lankan’, and it is the National Career of Sri Lanka. It is a member of the OneWorld Airline Alliance and is an award-winning airline service provider that holds a proud history.
Its history dates back to 1979, and since then, it maintains a good reputation as the flagship career of this island. The secret behind its success is undoubtedly its quality and reliable service, as well as its safety and punctuality. At present, it stands with pride as the only international airline service provider in Sri Lanka.
Years back, it was partly managed by Emirates. In the year 2008, the Sri Lankan government acquired all its shares, bringing partnership with Emirates to an end. Sri Lanka Airlines maintains its central hub at the main international airport of Sri Lanka, Colombo Bandaranaike International Airport. At present, it is in a state of operating to 113 destinations in 51 countries. Moreover, it operates over 560 flights per week across Asia.
By chance, if you have ever traveled on a flight of Sri Lankan Airlines, you surely know its delight. Apart from its generic services, it offers you a series of customized options, such as diabetic-friendly meals, pre-paid extra baggage, extra legroom seat, and advance seat reservation. Indeed, this is just a glimpse of its amazing features. Don’t forget to visit their website, for a greater delight!
16. Tourist Hotels Association of Sri Lanka (THASL)
The Tourist Hotels Association of Sri Lanka, also popular as the Ceylon Tourist Hotels Association, is a decades-old association on this island. Its history dates back to March 1965, and since then it proudly contributes to the country’s tourism industry.
In brief, THASL is an association that serves the industry with the mission of uplifting the local tourism industry in the midst of insurgencies, natural disasters, epidemics, and a three-decade-long civil war. After a journey of more than 50 years, today THASL is simply the apex body of Sri Lanka’s entire hotel industry. At present, it stands with pride with over 200 memberships, covering a wide range of hotels and resorts island-wide.
Its major objectives are revolving around fostering Sri Lanka’s tourism and hotel industry for the promotion of commerce and economic development. Accordingly, they have set a few objectives to help them reach this target.
- Co-operating with the Sri Lankan government, whenever needed to contribute with regard to the promotion and improvement of the Tourist Hotel Industry
- Collaborating with local and international organizations for the promotion and improvement of tourism and tourist hotel industry.
- Organizing and funding to enhance the spirit of unity and co-operation among the members of the Association.
This is just a glimpse of what they mainly aim for. However, they always tend to travel the extra mile, going beyond their initial objectives to contribute to the betterment of their industry. Therefore, THASL is an important authority in the tourism and hotel industry in Sri Lanka.
17. Sri Lanka Association of Inbound Tour Operators (SLAITO)
Sometimes, you might not have heard about this association earlier. Sri Lanka Association of Inbound Tour Operators, simply known as SLAITO, is the apex body for the inbound tourism industry on this island. It has the ability to impact policy-makers in Sri Lanka. Hence, its contribution to overcoming the challenges faced by the industry is indeed commendable.
A few decades back, Sri Lanka lacked any contribution to the field of inbound tourism. This was the reason behind the launch of this association, and it came into action as an NGO, in 1975. At its inaugurations, it emerged with the name Association of Group Tour Agents (AGTA). Later on, in 2002 to be exact, its name changed to the Sri Lanka Association of Inbound Tour Operators through a reconstitution. At present, it stands strong with 192 Fully-fledged Members and 53 Associate Members.
Some of its remarkable services are as follows.
- Acting a main role in the private sector decision-making forums
- Most of the tourists in Sri Lanka are handled by the SLAITO membership.
Moreover, SLAITO is the only Association recognized by the tourism act that represents the inbound tourism sector. Hence, it remains one of the most significant authorities of the tourism industry in Sri Lanka.
18. Conservation of Wildlife Heritage
By now, you already know what a paradise Sri Lanka is. Further, its amazing wildlife is indeed a remarkable addition to this island’s wonders. In a world where wildlife is in danger, Sri Lankan authorities, together with the citizens, are taking measures to preserve its value to the future as well. This is the point where the importance of the Department of the Wildlife Conservation emerges.
The Department of Wildlife Conservation is a government body that works focusing on the theme ‘Conservation of Wildlife Heritage for Present & Future Generation’. This department was initialized in October 1949, with the name Department of Wildlife. Since then, the department carried out various projects, paying attention to the forestries, fauna and flora, as well as the endemic species of wildlife. Almost all of their contributions revealed a notable progression in the field of interest.
Services of the Department of Wildlife Conservation
At present, the services of the Department of Wildlife Conservation spread over several important facets. They are as follows.
- Research Permissions: There is no doubt that the research work about wildlife in Sri Lanka has a significant impact on national economic development. Still, they should be carried out, without harming the biodiversity of the values of the environment. Hence, the Department of Wildlife Conservation regulates the process of issuing research permissions, for the betterment of nature itself.
- Filming Permissions: Filming any of the wildlife protected areas, and national reserves and sanctuaries require special permission from the departments.
- Elephant Registration: The department maintains a certain set of regulations regarding the ownership of elephants. Elephant registrations are a must with regard, and this department is responsible for taking care of this process.
- Registration of Tuks and Tushers: Similarly, a special set of regulations are available with regard to the ownership of tusks and tushers. The Wildlife Conservation Departments regulates this process.
- Export Permissions: Sri Lanka is an island rich with wildlife natural treasures. It houses a number of endemic species. Exporting them without proper permission is an illegal act. It is this department that issues permissions with regard.
Likewise, the Department of Wildlife Conservation holds a vital role in preserving the natural values. Their contribution through participatory management, research, education, and law enforcement is indeed essential for the tourist industry as well. Hence, it is known as one of the important authorities of the tourism industry in Sri Lanka.
19. Government Information Center
A few years back, Sri Lankans faced a number of hardships due to the inefficient and time-consuming processes. Owing to this fact, in an era where everything turns out to be modernized, the demand for e-services rapidly increased in Sri Lanka as well. The government felt the urgency of this requirement, and as a result of addressing this issue, it came up with a platform to assist citizens in obtaining useful information. This brought forth the Government Information System, and it embraced the whole country with no time.
Of course, it was not that ‘typical’ e-service platform that you can see in certain developed countries. Still, a call center and a website that caters to the general information requirements within Sri Lanka. Since 2009, the call center has been functioning 14 hours a day, making it a useful service on this island. Moreover, these centers provide information in all three languages in Sri Lanka, that is Sinhala, Tamil, and English. The authorities reveal that they receive more than 5000 calls daily. This simply reveals how important this service is for Sri Lankans.
The website of the Government Information System reached the community a bit later. However, at present, it too runs parallel to the call center. There is no doubt that anyone who is in need of any kind of general information about the country fulfills their need through this website, 24/7.
Even though if you are a tourist, you can simply dial 1919, and reach the call center of the Government Information System. Moreover, if you wish to view information through their website, all you have to do is to access it through http://www.gic.gov.lk/.
Information available in the Government Information System website.
Besides, you might be wondering what kind of information that you can gain through the website of the Government Information System. Check below to know what they are.
- Information about approvals, registrations, permits, and licenses, related to the agriculture, livestock & fisheries sector.
- Details about postal services, and information services related to communication & media.
- Information about weather services, environmental protection programs, etc.
- Details about banking, tax, and insurance.
- Information about education and training with regard to school education, and higher education.
- Health assistance, and child care.
- Information regarding citizens’ registrations.
- Details about employment in government and private sectors.
- Information about housing and property planning & building regulations.
Above all, if you have any other queries related to the government and the country’s law, you can simply reach the call center. They would provide you the necessary information, or else direct you towards a party that could assist you. With no time, the Government Information System reached success, and it also won two international awards as well. Thus, there is no doubt that the Government Information System is one of the most popular services of the Sri Lankan government. Moreover, it remains one of the important authorities of the tourism industry as well.
The excellence in the Travel and Tourism of this splendid island mainly depends on the contributions of these authorities of the Tourism industry. Even after an era where the industry’s growth was hampered due to a civil war, it could flourish with no time. The vital role that they play in establishing, improving, and sustaining this trade is indeed commendable. Further, these authorities of the tourism industry are the main reason behind promoting and enhancing the delivery of service standards of the industry. Thus, their importance remains high, and knowing about these authorities of the tourism industry would certainly help you create a pleasant experience here in Sri Lanka.