Since, the Sense of Tourism is to have an exploration and an experience; government tourism authorities like provincial councils are the nerve centers to enhance the quality of the destination image via the key roles of providing an ideal, authority, infrastructure, policy and planning procedures to create wonderful exploration and exclusive experience for the visitors at the specific province.
The Provincial Councils are responsible for planning and strengthening the capacity to formulate policies to provide efficient and quality services for tourists with the corporation of all the stakeholders in the province: to ensure the safety and security of tourists, to develop existing and potential tourist attractions with accessibility and amenities, the quality and quantity of human resources required for tourism, the accommodation facilities in the province, the knowledge and skills of the service providers including communities and to disseminate tourism information and ultimately ensuring quality tourist service via regional tourism development.
Regional tourism development planning in consultation with stakeholders, are encouraged to utilize their powers under the Government Code to ensure the preparation and implementation of a tourism development plan, the enforcement of standards and the collection of statistical data for tourism purposes. The plan should integrate zoning, land use, infrastructure development, the national system of standards for tourism enterprises, heritage and environmental protection imperatives in a manner that encourages sustainable tourism development. There should be sustainable tourism development projects to utilize the regional resources. The coordination mechanisms are to be adopted specially in enforcement and compliance to tourism standards and in building competencies in tourism development planning in the province. These are in the areas of making sure that tourism development plans are translated in major local policies and embedded in regional tourism development budget, coordination in marketing local tourism areas at various promotional levels, and assistance in aftercare services for tourism business retention, expansion and diversification.
When concerning the Central Province, it is aesthetic tourism paradise enriched by diverse collection of attractions including the four sites have been inscribed in the UNESCO World Heritage.
There are numerous new opportunities in the Central Province to launch promotions, Ex. Natural water ponds swimming pools since the province is enriched with a wonderful collection of natural water pools, “Flora tours” to discover the diversity of endemic trees and plants, introducing new tracking and hiking paths, waterfall crossing experiences etc… Identifying such areas and launching tourism projects in an optimum ways and means to mingle with innovative exploring are the modern role of provincial councils in relevant to tourism development.
Another notable side of promotions can be express in the terms of increasing the quality of service providers and the human resource engaging in tourism in the particular region. This should address the current issues and to make strong forecasting plan to ensure the quality of personals who directly involve in tourism. Consideration on a proper influencing programme to increase the quality of the tour guides at World Heritage sites is in need because the behaviors and the grooming of the personals at special sites such as Sigiriya need to be upgrade in all the way as part of tourism promotions by introducing suitable attire and make awareness of grooming standards while directing to have proper tour guide training.
The coordination mechanism is to be adopted specially in enforcement and compliance to tourism standards and in building competencies in tourism development planning. These are in the areas of making sure that tourism development plans are translated in major local policies and embedded in provincial councils’ budget, coordination in marketing regional tourism areas at various promotional levels, and assistance in aftercare services for tourism business retention, expansion and diversification. To ensure that the host community of the region feels that they are using tourism to make theirs a better place to live in, rather than that their place is being used by tourism.
Tourism knowledge base will help guide and facilitate the expansion of the sector. This will help in identifying sites for tourism development; developing research agendas, programmes and partnerships; and improving the supply of data and information to all partners and stakeholders. Therefore tourism knowledge empowerment is in need to expand from provincial councils to the local community.
There is a wide array of concerns that provincial councils could address in making decisions towards developing the tourism industry in regional vise while facing for emerging issues and challenges. For that provincial councils have to take actions to bring up both private sector organizations and other government authorities which are anchored on its enabling (planning, promotions, research and business assistance) and regulatory (enforcement, compliance and conservation) roles for a delicate balance. And also need to understand the conditions in municipalities, especially budgeting and planning cycles.
There is significant different between promoting a destination and promoting a destination image. Destination image formulation is almost important for the popularity of the destination to attract continuous visitors, especially in popular destinations hence the effects of mass tourism influence in radical problem of littering. There should be strategic promotional series for garbage disposal and to maintain clean atmosphere in other words a nature oriented promotion.
As there is a much demand for sustainability in the tourism scenario, sustainable tourism promotions also has to be highlighted. In the context of sustainable tourism promotions, provincial councils need to play important roles on the success of its local tourism industry via a strong influence in conserving its resources while the community’s development, provide the links between the people and government, address its community’s problems and concerns, enforce policies and hold influence over its communities in order to create a sustainable and beneficial outcome.
The first years of the 21st Century have been exceptional for Sri Lanka and the Travel and Tourism sector. Looking back at the end of the 20th Century and looking forward today from evolving 21st Century vantage point, change in the sector is truly inspiring. Growth by all accounts has been phenomenal. Tourism has been unlocked in ways never seen before. Travellers of all ages, cultures and interests are being invited to see, touch, feel and embrace new experiences. The business of Tourism has become very serious, very lucrative, very fashionable and very aggressive. Therefore the role of provincial councils also becomes more critical in tourism development and promotional aspects.
Provincial Council as the hub of tourism ambit coordination with Regional Tourism Development and Promotions therefore it has to take strategic actions to touch the unseen horizons of new tourism concepts with innovative approaches. Let’s start to promote the wonderful uniqueness of Sri Lanka by emphasizing the regional values beyond the traditional tourism horizons…