Tourist transporters urged to implement e vehicle permit scheme under ESG
Colombo (LNW): The government has been urged to implement an incentive scheme with necessary guidelines to import electric vehicles for tourist transportation sector to popularise Sri Lanka ‘a commitment towards creating “green country’’.
Electric vehicle (EV) permit scheme for tourist transportation sector will enable the island nation to earn much needed foreign exchange by promoting here country concept and attracting more tourists who value this perception.
The Tourism Ministry could allow tourist transporters to import electrical vehicles as part of its measures to provide benefits to persons involved in this sector.
The Ministry of Tourism has been urged to grant import permits for electric vehicles as an innovative approach to increase remittances and its positive impact on the environment.
Time is opportune for Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) to showcase the seriousness of the government’s commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by deploying electric vehicles (EVs) for tourist transportation, says Ranjith Sudasingha, VicePresident of the Chauffeur Tourist Guide Lecturers’ Association.
“One notable way SLTDA can showcase its true commitment to the abovecause is by helping our members to get EVs best suited for road trips taken by foreign visitors during their holiday in the country.
By actively participating in the Environmental and Social Governance (ESG) goals, SLTDA can demonstrate its leadership in addressing environmental challenges and meeting the expectations of eco-conscious foreign visitors who want to travel in environmentally-friendly vehicles because of the positive impact it has on the environment.”
However, if SLTDA is truly interested in boosting tourism revenue and thereby increase foreign inflows to the country, it needs to take the green tourist transportation initiative seriously and find a smart way to mobilize the funds.”
He points out that climate finance provided by Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs) is a key source that SLTDA can tap into. He cites MDBs such as the World Bank, ADB, European Investment Bank (EIB) and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.
Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) whose global climate finance exceeded $98 billion in 2022 for low-income and middle-income economies.
He said “Therefore, SLTDA should be able to tap those funds and help us get EVs through soft loans at a concessional duty rate in order to facilitate emission-free tourist transportation.”
“Today’s discerning tourists want to see us treat Mother Nature with the respect she deserves. Nevertheless a large portion of tourist transportation comes from quite old fossil-fuel-powered vehicles and EV charging points are few and far between.
This is concerning to the tourists due to its contribution to pollution and global warming. Tourists not only want to stay in green hotels but also want to see green travel integrated into the key elements of sustainable tourism, he claimed.
“Currently, our Association members are paid lower than what three-wheelerscharge per kilometer. This is a pathetic situation given our running costs, he pointed out.
The Destination Management Companies (DMCs) give attractive rental rates for tourists to stay competitive in the business. We have to suffer that loss in silence.
If the authorities can help us get duty-free EVs through soft loans arranged with the MDBs, it will derive four direct benefits.. It will help contribute to Sri Lanka’s emission goals for our planet. Tourists will identify Sri Lanka Tourism as a truly environmentally-conscious brand and tourist arrivals will grow significantly.