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Sunday, 10 February 2013

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‘Britain to invest in tourism expansion drive’

Britain is interested in investing in the expanding tourism industry in Sri Lanka specially to increase room capacity for the tourism sector which is now in progress.

Sir Paul Judge

“We will play a major role in infrastructure development initiatives targeting roads, bridges and related facilities of construction to facilitate the Government's development drive,” Sir Paul Judge, a visiting UK businessman told Sunday Observer Business.

“With British companies that have world class experience in all aspects of construction, they could make a positive contribution in this field. With the level of quality and competence that British companies are known for, the tourism industry could benefit from this,” he said.

During his ten-day visit to the island, he had observed that the country was fascinating and beautiful. “I will request my friends in the UK to visit Sri Lanka, where hospitality is at its highest, on business and holiday tours”, he said. “We are confident that investments made here are safe and secure.

There are a lot opportunities for investments to flow into the country. However, the country needs to improve the present ranking in the Ease of Doing Business index. The time taken to set up a business has to be shortened considerably. When this is done property, related matters such as issuance of permits to commence construction, utilities such as electricity and water need to follow suit.

The straight forward tax regime and reduction of red tape could be viewed as an encouragement for investors. The country could move up from it’s current 80th position in the Ease of Doing Business index by addressing each point of the index criteria, Sir Paul said.Commending the continuous economic growth, Sir Paul said that when terrorism ended three years ago, the international community was cautious about the country.

“We had a ‘wait and see’ approach but now we are confident that the country is moving in the right direction.

British investors are happy to invest in countries where there is fast GDP growth, a stable government, less red tape, reduced taxes and where the rule of commercial law exists and faith in the system runs high, he said. The country’s business climate is now ripe and offers many lucrative commercial opportunities. As there are no indications that terrorism still prevails, the Government’s development agenda will attract more investment into Sri Lanka. There are 25 British universities in Sri Lanka at present. British Airways which plans to recommence operations from March sees much potential in the country’s tourism sector,

 

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