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Sri Lanka’s ambitious plans to develop its tourism sector are being held up by too much bureaucracy, according to the island’s Minister for Tourism, John Amaratunga.

Speaking ahead of the inaugural Asia Hotel and Tourism Investment Conference (AHTIC) in Colombo, he said: “One of the biggest challenges is the bureaucracy. We do not have the agility of the private sector to take decisions quickly and implement them.”

Promising speedy reforms, he added there would be new concessions and investment opportunities announced at the AHTIC Amaratunga    said the island’s winter-season marketing campaign illustrated the challenges agreed six months ago, but had yet to get off the ground with the winter season now imminent.

In a clear sign that he intends to push for change within government, he added: “While I acknowledge the need for financial and administrative regulations, they must be changed to suit current requirements. Today, time is of the essence and timing is everything.”
The minister is setting up a cabinet sub-committee to speed-up project approvals. (LBO)