Sri Lanka

Supporting the social protection response to the impact of COVID-19 – Tourism Sector in Sri Lanka project aims at supporting the Government of Sri Lanka to design and implement social protection responses to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on the workers of the tourism sector in the country. It helps to provide mechanisms to extend social protection coverage and adequate benefits to both formal and informal workers using a combination of contributory and non-contributory schemes, following the international social security standards and principles. The expected outcome of the project is to assist the country to overcome the crisis in the short and medium term.

Key achievements of 2020-2022

  • The project prepared the design and operational guidelines for an immediate cash-transfer measure to support workers in the tourism sector, through consultation with key stakeholders. The design and operational guidelines were officially approved by the Ministry of Tourism in January 2022. Following this approval, discussions are now happening with the ILO to support the implementation of the mechanism.
  • The project prepared a preliminary design for a possible unemployment protection scheme as a mid-term and long-term response to the COVID-19 related crisis and in view of building a more resilient social protection system.
  • The findings of the legal and policy assessment and social protection gaps analysis are used by the National Planning Department to support the implementation of the National Social Protection Strategy.
  • The key stakeholders of the Tourism sector have benefited from tailor-made capacity building activities, with content and methodology developed based on a training needs analysis.
  • Through a large awareness campaign directed to un-registered establishments and service providers of the tourism sector, the rate of registration to the Sri Lanka Tourism Department Authority increased by 52% in December 2021 as per the SLTDA records. This constitutes a first important step towards a better access to social protection and other services.
  • The Ministry of Labour created the social protection subcommittee under the National Labour Advisory Committee (NLAC) discussing the reform of the social protection system, in particular for workers and their families. This committee is the result of a solid social dialogue process facilitated through the project. Notably around the discussion on options for the extension of social protection coverage for workers in the informal sector. 



Project partners

The project was developed in partnership with the Ministry of Labour, Ministry of Tourism, Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority and Employers Federation of Ceylon, Trade Union of Sri Lanka Nidahas Sevaka Sangamaya, Sri Lanka hotelier association, Regional tourism association, Sri Lanka tour guide association and other partners working on social protection for workers and Civil Society.

The project implementing partner is the Ministry of Labour with the close collaboration of the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of tourism and Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority.


Ms. Simrin Singh, Director, ILO Country Office for Sri Lanka and Maldives,

Ms. Sriyani Ekanayake, Programme Officer, ILO Country Office for Sri Lanka and Maldives,

Ms. Mariko Ouchi, Senior Technical Specialist on Social Protection, ILO Decent Work Technical Support Team (DWT) – South Asia,

Tuk tuk driver in Sri Lanka 

Bartender in Sri Lanka