Minister of Tourism, Lands and Christian Religious Affairs, Sri Lanka
Hon. John Amaratunga is a veteran politician and lawyer in Sri Lanka. He first entered parliament in 1978 and has had an unbroken run in the supreme legislature since then. From the inception of his political career, he has served as a Representative of the Gampaha District in Parliament for the United National Party.
In a political career spanning nearly four decades, Hon. John Amaratunga has served under various leaders holding important ministerial portfolios in the Government of Sri Lanka.
In 1988 he was appointed as State Minister of Finance. In 1989 he was appointed State Minister of Foreign Affairs. In 1993 he was elevated to Cabinet rank as Minister of Home Affairs and Provincial Councils. Hon. John Amaratunga served as Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Public Enterprise (COPE) from 1984 to 1993 and from 1994 to 2001.
With the change of government in 2001, he was appointed Cabinet Minister of Interior and Christian Affairs. From 2010 to 2015 he served as the Chief Opposition Whip in Parliament. In January 2015 he was appointed as Cabinet Minister of Public Order, Disaster Management and Christian Religious Affairs. Following the General Election in August 2015 and the formation of the Unity Government, Hon. John Amaratunga took up his current portfolio of Minister of Tourism Development and Christian Religious Affairs.
A few months later he was given the additional portfolio of Lands. Hon. John Amaratunga is also a long serving Working Committee Member of the UNP. He has served as Chairman – UNP Gampaha District Coordination Committee, Secretary General – National Trade Union Federation, and President – Jathika Sevaka Sangamaya which is the main trade union arm of the UNP.
During his long political career, he has led several official delegations abroad. He is one of the few politicians with an unblemished record who has served his constituents and the country with dedication and distinction.
Minister Amaratunga’s current portfolio of Tourism Development is of much importance as the country is now looking to the industry to be the catalyst for growth and the leading foreign exchange earner.
Hon. Amaratunga has wasted no time in getting the wheels in motion to develop tourism to its full potential with a hands-on approach where he personally visits places of tourist interest to look into issues and formulate development plans. Unlike his predecessors, Hon. Amaratunga has also enlisted the services of the captains of the tourism industry to advise him on the way forward through the formation of a high profile Tourism Advisory Committee.
Hon. John Amaratunga is a product of De Mazenod College, Kandana, St. Joseph’s College, Colombo, Aquinas University College, Colombo and Ceylon Law College, Colombo.
By profession, he is an Attorney at Law, Notary Public, Justice of Peace and Unofficial Magistrate.