A Critique Of Tourism Policy And Planning In Shrilanka Assignment

Exploring the Impact of Policies on Sri Lanka's Tourism Industry Amidst Global Challenges

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Introduction Of A Critique Of Tourism Policy And Planning In Shrilanka Assignment

Tourism is a significant contributor to the global economy, with millions of people traveling to different destinations every year. However, this industry is faced with various challenges, ranging from economic dependence to social, political and environmental issues. The report will examined the different challenges facing the tourism industry, with a particular focus on Sri Lanka. The report highlighted the policies and strategies that have been implemented to address these challenges, and assessed their effectiveness(Cenamoret.al 2017). Furthermore, the report present analysing of these policies and strategies from an ideological perspective, examining how different political ideologies have impacted the approaches taken by policymakers. Finally, the report provided recommendations on the most suitable ideological approach for resolving the challenges facing the tourism industry, with a focus on sustainable tourism development.

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State of tourism in shrilanka

The COVID-19 epidemic has had a substantial influence on Sri Lanka's tourism industry as of 2021, with a significant decline in the number of tourists staying the nation. Prior to the pandemic, however, tourism was one of Sri Lanka's fastest-growing industries.

Sri Lanka received 1.9 million tourist arrivals in 2019, accounting for around 5% of the country's GDP and employing over 250,000 people. The sector has developed steadily over the last decade, with aregular growth rate of 10.3% from 2009 to 2018(Abeysekara et.al 2023).

The main markets for Sri Lanka's tourism industry were India, China, the United Kingdom, Germany, and France (Dangi and Jamal, 2016). The majority of tourists were interested in cultural tourism, beach tourism, and adventure tourism. The country also attracted a significant number of religious tourists, particularly those interested in Buddhism.

In recent years, Sri Lanka has prioritised sustainable tourism, with a particular emphasis on eco-tourism as well as community-based tourism. Eco-tourists are drawn to the country's abundant biodiversity, cultural heritage, and breathtaking natural settings.

While the COVID-19 pandemic has had a substantial impression on the tourist business in Sri Lanka, the republic's various tourism offers and emphasis on sustainability indicate that the industry has the potential for long-term development once travel restrictions are relaxed.
3. A review of the issues facing tourism

Tourism is an industry that is important to many countries around the world, contributing significantly to their economies and providing employment opportunities. However, the industry is not without its challenges. This section of the report discusses seven issues that are currently facing the tourism industry, including economic, social, political, and environmental challenges.

Economic Challenges:

Dependence on Tourism: Sri Lanka, like many other countries, heavily relies on the tourism industry for its economic growth. However, the overdependence on the industry can lead to vulnerability when tourism numbers decline, such as during the COVID-19 pandemic. This highlights the need for Sri Lanka to diversify its economy and reduce its reliance on tourism (EdgellSr, 2019). The government can encourage the growth of other industries to create new job opportunities and boost economic growth.

Unequal Distribution of Benefits: While the tourism industry in Sri Lanka can bring significant economic benefits, there is a concern about the unequal distribution of these benefits. In some cases, the majority of the profits go to large corporations and foreign investors, rather than the local communities. This can create income inequality and have negative social impacts. Sri Lanka should focus on promoting community-based tourism, where local communities are vigorously involved in the tourism industry and obtain a reasonable share of the economic welfares (Wijesingheet.al 2020).

Social Challenges:

Over-tourism: Over tourism is a growing concern in many popular tourist destinations around the world, and Sri Lanka is no exception. The island nation's pristine beaches, ancient temples, and diverse wildlife attract millions of visitors each year, leading to an influx of tourists that can have a negative impact on the local community and environment. With overtourism, Sri Lanka is facing issues such as overcrowding, increased traffic congestion, and damage to its cultural and natural heritage sites. It is crucial for the government and tourism industry to work together to implement sustainable tourism practices to prevent the negative effects of over tourism and preserve Sri Lanka's unique beauty and culture for generations to come.(Fernandoet.al. 2016).

Political Challenges:

Safety and Security Concerns: Safety and security concerns have been a significant issue in Sri Lanka, particularly in the past due to a prolonged civil war that ended in 2009. The end of the conflict brought about significant improvements in the security situation, leading to a rise in tourism to the country. However, recent incidents of terrorism, including the Easter Sunday bombings in 2019, have once again raised concerns about the safety of visitors to Sri Lanka. Such incidents can deter tourists from visiting the country, impacting its economy and its ability to attract foreign investment. The Sri Lankan government has taken measures to improve security, including increasing surveillance and implementing strict security measures at tourist sites. It is crucial for Sri Lanka to maintain a safe and secure environment for visitors to ensure continued growth of its tourism industry and promote the country's economic development

Environmental Challenges:

  • Sri Lanka, like many other countries, faces several challenges related to the tourism industry. Climate change is a major concern for the island nation, particularly due to the potential impact on its natural attractions such as beaches and national parks. Rising sea levels, altering weather patterns, and more frequent natural disasters can all have a substantial influence on the tourism industry in Sri Lanka (Fletcher et al., 2019).
  • Environmental degradation is another challenge faced by Sri Lanka's tourism industry, with issues such as ecosystem destruction, pollution, and overuse of natural resources. These negative impacts can lead to long-term environmental degradation, which can have severe consequences on the tourism industry.
  • Waste management is also a significant challenge faced by the tourism industry in Sri Lanka. The volume of waste generated by tourism is substantial, including plastic waste, food waste, and other forms of waste. Proper waste management is critical to reducing the negative environmental impact of tourism. However, many areas in Sri Lanka struggle with managing the volume of garbage generated by tourism, which has a severe impact on the environment.
  • To address these challenges, it is essential for the Sri Lankan government, private sector, and local communities to work together. Developing sustainable tourism practices and diversifying the economy away from a heavy reliance on tourism can help mitigate some of these challenges (Goodwin, 2017). Striking a balance between the economic benefits of tourism and the protection of cultural and natural sites, as well as the well-being of local populations, is crucial for sustainable tourism development in Sri Lanka.

The principle challenge facing tourism at the present time

At present, one of the primary challenges facing tourism worldwide is the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic has had a profound impact on the tourism industry, triggering a significant decline in tourist arrivals and income in numerous countries. In Sri Lanka, the pandemic has led to a drastic reduction in the amount of tourists and has resulted in widespread financial disruption.

The impact of COVID-19 on travel can be evaluated using several criteria, such as economic influence, social impression, political influence, and environmental impact. In terms of economic impact, the pandemic has caused a severe decline in tourism-related revenue, resulting in job losses and business closures (Hyndman, 2015). In Sri Lanka, the tourism industry donates to aimportant proportion of the country's GDP, and the decline in tourism revenue has had a significant influence on the economy. The social impact of the pandemic has been equally severe, with many communities relying on tourism for their livelihoods. The pandemic has resulted in increased poverty and inequality, particularly in developing countries where the tourism industry is a significant employer. The political impact of the pandemic has been significant, with many countries implementing travel limitations and quarantine actions to control the blowout of the virus. These actions have affected the mobility of tourists and have led to geopolitical tensions. Finally, the pandemic has had some environmental benefits, such as reduced carbon emissions due to reduced air travel and decreased pollution levels (Rajapakseet.al 2023).

While the COVID-19 pandemic has had a severe influence on the tourism industry, other issues, such as over-tourism, inequality in the distribution of benefits, and safety and security concerns, continue to pose significant challenges for the industry (Isaac and Van den Bedem, 2021). In Sri Lanka, over tourism has been a problem in some areas, particularly during peak travel periods. The issue of inequality in the distribution of benefits is also prevalent in the tourism industry, with foreign investors and large corporations often receiving a greater share of the profits than local communities. Safety and security concerns in Sri Lanka, particularly following the Easter Sunday bombings in 2019, have also impacted the tourism industry.

While the tourism business is dealing with a number of difficulties, the COVID-19 epidemic is the most important one right now. The pandemic has had a significant influence on the sector, highlighting the importance of resilience and sustainability in tourism. As the tourism sector recovers, stakeholders have an opportunity to reinvent tourism and establish more egalitarian and sustainable models that benefit both tourists and local communities.

How have all the issues identified been addressed or how are they planned to be addressed?

Many initiatives have been launched to address the worldwide difficulties confronting the tourist industry, particularly those affecting Sri Lanka. Several of these initiatives have concentrated on building policies and strategies to solve various concerns and assure long-term tourist development.

Tourism as a source of income: To address the issue of tourism dependence, Sri Lanka has launched a number of economic diversification strategies. To minimise its dependency on tourism, the government has concentrated on establishing other industries including as manufacturing, services, and technology. Furthermore, Sri Lanka has established strategies to boost domestic tourism and attract high-value visitors. These steps are intended to mitigate the impact of any future recessions in the tourism industry.

In 2020, the Sri Lankan government introduced a National Export Strategy (NES) to diversify the country's economy and reduce dependence on the tourism industry (Jayawardena, 2022). The NES focuses on boosting the manufacturing, services, and technology sectors to create more job opportunities and increase export earnings.

Another strategy introduced by the Sri Lankan government is the "Go Local" campaign, launched in 2021, to promote domestic tourism and encourage Sri Lankans to travel within the country (Hunter et.al 2018). This campaign aims to reduce the country's reliance on international tourism and boost the local economy.

Furthermore, Sri Lanka's Tourism Strategic Plan 2020-2025, launched in 2020, aims to attract high-value visitors and promote sustainable tourism practices. The key objectives of this plan include increasing the average length of stay, promoting cultural and eco-tourism, and developing niche markets such as adventure tourism.

These policies and strategies are crucial in mitigating the impact of any future recessions in the tourism industry and reducing Sri Lanka's dependence on this sector. By diversifying the economy and promoting sustainable tourism practices, Sri Lanka can ensure a stable income source and sustainable economic growth in the long run.

Unequal Distribution of Benefits:The Sri Lankan government has established many measures to promote community-based tourism in order to solve the issue of unequal distribution of benefits (Jayawardena, 2022). The government has supported the establishment of small-scale tourism businesses owned by people, which can benefit communities economically. This strategy aims to reduce income inequality and ensure that the economic benefits of tourism are distributed more equally.

Over tourism: Sri Lanka has recognised the problem of over tourism and has put policies in place to address it. The government has implemented steps to limit the amount of tourists to specific locations and has emphasised the importance of fostering sustainable tourism practises. For example, the country has put in place policies to encourage responsible tourism and to encourage visitors to protect the environment and cultural heritage places.

Safety and Security Concerns: Sri Lanka has previously experienced serious safety and security concerns, particularly during the civil war. Nonetheless, after the conflict's end in 2009, the government has put in place measures to safeguard the safety and security of tourists. Among these measures is increased security at popular tourist spots and improved intelligence-gathering capabilities to avoid terrorist attacks.

Climate Change: Sri Lanka has recognised the effect that climate change will have on the tourism industry and has put regulations in place to mitigate it. The government has put in place measures to limit carbon emissions and promote environmentally friendly tourism practises. The country, for example, has fostered the growth of eco-friendly tourism, such as animal safaris and nature-based activities.

Technological Disruption: Sri Lanka has recognized the importance of technology in the tourism industry and has implemented policies to promote the adoption of new technologies. The government has encouraged the use of digital platforms for marketing and has developed policies to support the growth of the sharing economy.

Government Instability:Sri Lanka has previously had substantial political instability, which has had a negative influence on the tourism business. The government, on the other hand, has taken steps to solve this issue (Panet.al 2018). The country, for example, has taken steps to promote political stability and combat corruption. In addition, the government has adopted policies to improve the business environment and attract foreign investment, which can help drive economic growth and support the tourism industry.

While great attempts have been made to solve the difficulties confronting Sri Lanka's tourism industry, there is still much work to be done. Several of the concerns listed are ongoing and require continual attention and investment to preserve the industry's long-term viability. The government must continue to create and execute policies that promote sustainable tourist practises and equitable economic benefit distribution. Furthermore, industry stakeholders must collaborate to solve challenges such as over tourism and climate change, which can have serious consequences for both the environment and local residents.

The tourism industry in Sri Lanka faces a range of challenges, including dependence on tourism, unequal distribution of benefits, over tourism, safety and security concerns, climate change, technological disruption, and government instability (Prayag, 2020). While there have been efforts to address these challenges, there is still much work to be done to ensure the sustainability of the industry. The government, industry stakeholders, and local communities must work together to address these issues and promote sustainable tourism development in Sri Lanka.

A political/ ideological critique

Political ideologies influence the policies and strategies established by governments to handle the difficulties confronting the tourism industry. The political philosophy of the ruling party influences the policies and initiatives implemented by the government of Sri Lanka.

The current government in Sri Lanka is a collaboration of the centre-right political parties Sri Lanka PodujanaPeramuna (SLPP) as well as Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP). The SLPP is noted for its pro-business and market-oriented policies that place a premium on growth and development of the economy through the private sector.

This ideology is reflected in the government's approach to addressing the challenges facing the tourism industry. For example, the government's policy of diversifying the economy to reduce dependence on tourism is in line with the market-oriented policies of the SLPP. The government's focus on attracting high-value tourists also reflects this ideology, as it is intended at increasing the contribution of tourism to the country's GDP.

The government's promotion of community-based tourism also reflects its centre-right ideology, as it emphasizes the role of the private sector in developing small-scale tourism enterprises. However, this policy also recognizes the importance of social responsibility and the need to ensure that the economic benefits of tourism are distributed more equitably (Tupamahuet.al 2023).

The government's initiatives to combat over tourism and climate change are more progressive, emphasising sustainability and responsible tourism practises (Ranasinghe, 2019). This indicates a change away from the conventional centre-right emphasis on economic expansion at any cost and towards a more balanced strategy that considers the social and environmental repercussions of tourism.

While the centre-right ideology of the ruling party has influenced the policies and strategies developed to address the challenges facing the tourism industry in Sri Lanka, the government has also recognized the importance of sustainability and responsible tourism practices (Ravinthirakumaranet.al 2019). This suggests that the political ideology has provided a suitable framework for developing policy, although there may be ongoing debates and tensions between different ideological perspectives within the government.


Based on the analysis of the challenges facing the tourism industry and the policies implemented in Sri Lanka, a neoliberal approach seems to be the most suitable for resolving these issues. Neoliberalism emphasizes the importance of the market in shaping economic development and advocates for the reduction of government intervention in the economy.

The Sri Lankan government has implemented policies to diversify the economy and reduce dependence on tourism, which aligns with neoliberal principles. By promoting other industries such as manufacturing, services, and technology, the government is creating a more diversified economy that is less reliant on tourism.

The promotion of community-based tourism, which involves the development of small-scale tourism enterprises run by locals, also aligns with neoliberal principles. This approach allows for market forces to determine the success of tourism enterprises rather than government intervention.

The policies to limit overtourism and promote sustainable tourism practices also align with neoliberal principles. By encouraging responsible tourism and promoting eco-friendly tourism activities, the government is allowing market forces to shape the demand for sustainable tourism.

It is important to note that a purely neoliberal approach may not be adequate for tackling all of the difficulties confronting the tourism business. For example, addressing the issue of unequal benefit distribution may necessitate increased government intervention to ensure that economic advantages are dispersed more equitably.

A neoliberal approach appears to be the most appropriate for addressing the difficulties confronting Sri Lanka's tourism industry. However, this strategy must be balanced with sufficient government involvement to reduce inequalities and guarantee that sustainable tourist practises are favoured.


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