Sri Lanka’s first “Tourism Roadside Signage Guidelines” launched on January 30 to boost its rapidly growing tourism industry.
United States Agency for International Development (USAID) simultaneously released a manual, “Start Your Tourism Business,” designed to assist hospitality sector entrepreneurs, as part of USAID’s wider effort to bolster Sri Lanka’s private sector development.
Tourism roadside signage plays a key role in making Sri Lanka a visitor-friendly destination. Effective road signage may draw visitors into exploring a town or attraction instead of just driving past and also improves the overall visitor experience, making it easier and safer for tourists to find key sites, facilities and services.
Meanwhile, the “Start Your Tourism Business” program targets small and medium enterprises, providing guidance on successfully starting and maintaining a tourism business.
Speaking at the launch, Mr. Nihal Somaweera, Additional Secretary of the Ministry of Economic Development said, “Sri Lanka is expecting 2.5 million tourists by 2015. We have to improve the capacity of small and medium enterprises in the tourist sector. Reliable roadside signage is also important for tourists."
“There is no doubt that these manuals will give an important boost to Sri Lanka’s rapidly growing tourism industry. And such initiatives exemplify USAID’s ongoing efforts to expand economic opportunity in Sri Lanka’s communities,” USAID Sri Lanka’s Mission Director James F. Bednar added.
Transition to the new signage is already happening. The Trincomalee Municipal Council and the Eastern Provincial Council have allocated funds for the signage, while the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) and the World Bank-supported Sustainable Tourism Project have endorsed using the guidelines throughout Sri Lanka.