Call for IP laws to bolster Sri Lanka tourism | Daily News

Call for IP laws to bolster Sri Lanka tourism

Sri Lanka should use intellectual property rights and laws to bolster its tourism industry, Director General of Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA), Colombo, Malraj Kiriella said yesterday.

Kiriella and others were gathered at the Sri Lanka Institute of Tourism and Hotel Management for the launch of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Study Report on Intellectual Property (IP) in Tourism and Culture in Sri Lanka, authored by Dr. N. Sampath Punchihewa of the University of Colombo.

“We have 72 tourist shops, 53 spa and wellness centres and 33 spice gardens. So these are the areas we need to protect with patents specifically, and innovations to protect their rights,” Kiriella said.

Tourism industries which Kiriella said could benefit include ayurvedic medical tourism, under which yoga and meditation fall; agro-tourism and organic tourism; and heritage tourism, which emphasizes the historical and cultural sites of Sri Lanka. As well, IP could aid in the development of new tourism products in the country, including a flying boat museum in Koggala, a “Silk Road by the Sea” museum, an international cricket museum, a transport museum in Ratmalana, an Asian war museum in the north, and more.

Kiriella said that SLTDA is currently looking into how to best adapt these practices of IP into their curriculum.

Representing WIPO from Geneva, Francesca Toso said that tourism is indeed an engine for sustainable local development, and that intellectual property is a tool for wealth creation.

“Intellectual property has positioned itself as an effective tool to enhance the competitiveness of enterprises, to inform public policy and debate on sustainable development choices, and also to enrich knowledge and skills with regard to the use of intellectual property,” said Toso.

WIPO is one of 17 specialized agencies that falls under the United Nations. In 2013, Sri Lanka was one of three countries - alongside Egypt, Ecuador, and Namibia - to be selected as a beneficiary project for WIPO’s Intellectual Property in Tourism Project. The three-year project is expected to be completed in 2018.


 

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