Diana Gamage says night-time economy doesn’t mean facilitating sex trade and binge drinking

By Sanath Nanayakkare

A vibrant night-time economy doesn’t mean facilitating, or legalising sex trade, or promoting binge drinking. It’s about adding vibrancy and a sense of excitement to a location for those who like to go out in the night and enjoy themselves, Diana Gamage, State Minister of Tourism, has said.

“I have never said that prostitution should be legalised. Here in Sri Lanka, prostitution takes place on a large scale, not just during the night, but at any given time of the day. What I say is; we need to promote urban benefits of a night-time economy and bring wealth to the local economy. Night-time economic sector is delivering millions of dollars to some city economies in the world and has created thousands of jobs. For example, in Tokyo, night-time economy delivers 300 billion ¥ to its economy. They don’t go behind prostitutes, or fall on the roadside after being heavily drunk in the night,” she said.

Responding to a query on the lagging by the government in specifying the subjects and functions of state ministers, she said: “Yes, my subjects have not been listed in the Gazette yet. So if the minister objects to something I do because I don’t have the authority to do so, then I will give up my portfolio and leave,”

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