Thursday, 27 February 2020 07:12

SLTDA, BOI sign MoU to enhance cooperation and fast-track hotel approvals

The Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) and Board of Investment (BOI) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to enhance cooperation between the two agencies.

The aim via the MoU is to reduce time and costs for foreign and domestic investors by streamlining the SLTDA and BOI investment approval processes. The signing took place at a formal ceremony with SLTDA Chairperson Kimarli Fernando and BOI Director General Champika Malalgoda, formalising the agreement on behalf of the two institutions in the presence of BOI Chairman Susantha Ratnayake.

The SLTDA is currently in the process of streamlining the approval process and facilitation services provided by the Investor Relations Unit (IRU).

The objective of the process is to provide accurate and reliable information required by investors in the sector and to facilitate approvals from all relevant government agencies within a minimum timeframe. The above streamlining is supported by the USAID-SAIL (Supporting Accelerated Investment in Sri Lanka) Project.

The BOI’s key objectives include encouraging and promoting investment, specifically Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), diversifying sources of foreign exchange earnings, increasing export earnings, promoting innovation, adopting new technologies, generating new employment and promoting Sri Lanka as a trading hub.

According to Tourism Act No. 38 of 2005, the SLTDA’s IRU specifically looks after tourism investments and the BOI collaborates in providing incentives and support with all relevant procedures to implement or bring investment into the country within the relevant regulations. The collaboration will be strengthened through this MoU to provide an efficient, effective and hassle-free investment facilitation process for tourism investments.

So far, the SLTDA has signed MOUs with the Urban Development Authority (UDA), Coastal Conservation Department (CCD) and now the BOI to streamline the tourism investment process and await the green light from the Central Environmental Authority (CEA), Department of Wildlife Conservation (DWC), Department of Archaeology, Forest Department and Department of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources.

To simplify the entire process, the SLTDA has initiated a common application for investors, including all the requirements of the key line agencies which are set to launch by March 2020.

“The common application will help quicken the investor approval process in tourism. It is critical that other line agencies support Sri Lanka Tourism in providing their approval so the common application can be implemented. The investors can upload the common application to our website and get connected to other line agencies for faster approvals in the future and have an online tracking of pending approvals,” Tourism Promotions State Minister Arundika Fernando asserted.

(FT)

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